2011 has been a season of frustration for several MLB clubs. The Washington Nationals and the Cincinnati Reds are two of them and are facing each other for the last time this season.
After mortgaging the farm to obtain power hitters Jayson Werth and Rick Ankiel, the Nationals thought they had the right recipe for success. Werth has been a snooze-fest and Ankiel still can’t find the right touch to get back to his peak.
The Reds, after winning the Central Division championship a year ago, with nearly everyone back except starter Aaron Harang, they looked poised for greatness. They have failed miserably and Harang is having a comeback-of-the-year season with the San Diego Padres.
They begin a three-game weekend series at Great American Ball Park tonight without much of a prize for the winner. They are both drifting along in third place in their respective divisions and virtually no hope for the post season.
The Nationals are certainly striving to be a .500 club this season and are currently five games below their goal. There is no legitimate chance of catching the second-place Atlanta Braves who are solidly entrenched 15 1/2 games ahead of the Nats.
The Reds on the other hand can conceivably catch and surpass the St. Louis Cardinals for second place in the NL Central Division. The Reds are only two games under .500 and just 4 1/2 back from the Cards. The Brewers are making a mockery of the race, refusing to start any losing streak.
Washington won a series 2-1 last week at home against the Reds.
The first game will feature Chien-Ming Wang (2-2) against Dontrelle Willis (0-3). Saturday’s contest will have Ross Detwiler (2-3) facing Mike Leake (10-8). In Sunday’s finale, the Nats will send Jordan Zimmerman (8-11) against Johnny Cueto (9-5).
1) Jayson Werth is only batting .143 at GABP with 4 singles and only 1 RBI.
2) In his career at GABP, Willis is 2-3 with a 3.59 ERA, giving up 4 HR in 48 IP
3) This will be Wang’s first appearance in GABP.