The view from Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, Oh. --- The Nationals arrived here in Cincinnati getting ready to face a Reds team that is feeling a little desperate themselves after falling 1-0 to the Rockies in their series finale Sunday at the Great American Ball Park.

Both the Nats and the Reds lost their respective series finales, 1-0.

Of course, this has been an amazing season for Cincinnati, who were knocked out of first place in the Central and now are a half-game back of the Cardinals for the top spot.

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Travis Wood was outstanding again for the Reds, and has allowed only six earned runs in his four starts.

Nats outfielder Justin Maxwell told me Wood was one of the most impressive pitchers he saw while in the International League. The Nats obviously will miss him, but they'll face another one of Cincinnati's young guns in Mike Leake this series.

The statistics are a little puzzling for Washington after the Florida series, having outscored the Fish 4-3, but losing the series 2-1. They have failed to plate a run in past 21 innings.

One bright spot has been the starting pitching of Stephen Strasburg, Livan Hernandez and Craig Stammen. The other impressive stat came from the Nats stingy bullpen, which shutdown the Marlins, leaving them without a hit the entire series.

Strasburg and Hernandez will wrap up the final two games of the series with the Reds, but tonight, it will be J.D. Martin (1-4, 3.35 ERA) against Johnny Cueto (8-2, 3.42).

Of course, it is all about the Nats getting the offense on track in this hitter friendly ballpark. They collected 19 hits the past two games, but Jim Riggleman even admitted Sunday during the Nats radio pregame show that they weren't great hits. The best hit ball was Ryan Zimmerman's almost home run foul ball. All 19 of the base hits were singles.

I'm in Cincinnati with the team and will be covering the sidelines during the four-game set. I'll also check in with the Syracuse Chiefs Monday to get an update on how the team is doing. They arrived in Norfolk at 5:00 a.m.

Tuesday's game will mark the anniversary of Adam Dunn's entry into the major leagues and is also Stephen Strasburg's 22nd birthday. What a year he has had, wouldn't you say?

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