Washington (62-68) at Cincinnati (65-66)

Light Snow Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 23° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Sat Aug 27, 2011
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Offensive woes are the main reason for the current struggles of the Washington Nationals, who have been unable to take advantage of a plethora of scoring chances.

Facing Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Leake(notes) again may help end their slide when the teams continue their three-game series Saturday night at Great American Ball Park.

Washington’s losing streak reached four games with a 4-3 loss to Cincinnati on Friday night, as the Nationals (62-68) equaled their offensive output from the past three games combined.

They went 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position in an 8-1 loss to Arizona on Thursday, and followed that with a 1-for-14 performance in RBI situations Friday. Of the six runs Washington has scored during its skid, five have come via the home run after Wilson Ramos(notes) hit a three-run shot in the fourth inning against the Reds.

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman(notes) went 0 for 5 and is 2 for 17 during the losing streak.

“When the big guys in your lineup come up cold, that’s a little unnerving,” manager Davey Johnson said.

One of Washington’s best performances this month came against Leake (10-8, 4.09 ERA).

Leake is 1-2 with a 4.97 ERA in four August starts. Possibly his roughest start of the month came Aug. 16, when he allowed six runs in six innings of a 6-4 loss in the nation’s capital.

The right-hander’s most recent start wasn’t much better. He allowed four runs in six innings Sunday before the Reds rallied for a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh.

Zimmerman is 4 for 7 with a homer off Leake lifetime, though Leake is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three career starts versus Washington.

Cincinnati (65-66) has won four out of five after pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo(notes) ended the series opener with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.

“He’s unbelievable,” manager Dusty Baker said of Cairo, who is batting .333 as a pinch-hitter. “We try to get him at-bats so he’s ready for situations like that. He’s been lights out.”

A funny remark, given Friday’s game was delayed 17 minutes when two banks of lights malfunctioned.

Brandon Phillips(notes) had a pair of RBI singles for Cincinnati and is batting .436 during his nine-game hitting streak, which began Aug. 17 against the Nationals.

Joey Votto(notes) had one hit is batting .472 over his last 12 games.

Friday marked the beginning of a seven-game homestand for the Reds following a 5-4 road trip, which began when they lost two out of three in Washington.

Their only victory in that series came against Saturday’s scheduled starter Ross Detwiler(notes) (2-3, 2.61) the day Phillips began his hitting streak.

The left-hander gave up one run - a first-inning solo homer to Votto - in six innings of a 2-1 Nationals loss.

Detwiler hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his five starts this season, most recently giving up one run in 6 2-3 innings to beat Arizona 4-1 on Monday. It marked the left-hander’s first victory since July 5, when he defeated the Chicago Cubs. He proceeded to drop his next three starts while receiving three total runs of support.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Detwiler Tex vs. M. Leake Cin
4-5 Record 12-9
3.00 ERA 3.86
41 K 118
20 BB 38
1.26 WHIP 1.17


Saturday, Aug 27