MLB Preview: Washington Nationals Visit Cincinnati Reds Looking for Fourth Straight Win

Dan Haren

Brad Barr – USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals have started the 2013 season on a roll, sweeping the Miami Marlins in the first three games of the season. Friday night, the Nationals head to Great American Ballpark to take on the Cincinnati Reds and will look to extend their winning streak to four games.

The Nationals only surrendered a single run over the first three games of the season, shutting out the Marlins in the first two games and winning game three on Thursday night, 6-1.

With one of the best starting rotations in Major League Baseball, it is no wonder they have only given up one run, but the Nationals bullpen has also been clutch during opening week. Over eight innings of relief pitching, the bullpen has yet to surrender a run.

Friday night, Dan Haren will get the ball for his first career start in a Nationals uniform. Haren signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Nationals this offseason. The right hander is coming back to the National League after spending three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. Last season for the Angels, Haren posted a 12-13 record with a 4.33 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and struck out 142 batters over 176.2 innings of work. The 32-year-old hopes to keep the team’s outstanding pitching alive and come out with the win.

The Reds will go with Homer Bailey during Friday night’s tilt against the Nationals. Bailey is coming off his first season with 200 or more innings pitched, in which he was 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 168 strikeouts. Last fall, his no hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates was the 16th in Reds history.

Although the Reds aren’t happy to be facing a Nationals team that has only given up one run this season, they are glad to be playing a familiar team. The Reds are coming off an opening series against the Angels of the American League, which they went 2-1.

The Nationals will hope to see the offense they saw from Bryce Harper on opening day, in which he hit two bombs against the Marlins. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern.

Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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