Opposite dugout: Reds headed toward yet another last-place finish

Manager: Jim Riggleman (1st season)

Record: 48-60

Last 10 games: 5-5

Who to watch: 3B Eugenio Suárez (.300 with 24 HR, 81 RBIs); 1B Joey Votto (.289 with 109 hits, 22 2B); 2B Scooter Gennett (.313 with 17 HR, 67 RBIs); SS José Peraza (.284 with 118 hits, 17 SB); RHP Matt Harvey (5-4, 4.44 ERA); RHP Tyler Mahle (7-8, 4.53 ERA); RHP Raisel Iglesias (2.11 ERA, 21 saves)

Season series vs. Nationals: 0-3

Pitching probables:

Aug. 2: RHP Tyler Mahle (7-8) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (14-5); 7:05 p.m., MASN
Aug. 3: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (4-3) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-7); 7:05 p.m., MASN
Aug. 4: RHP Matt Harvey (5-6) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-2); 7:05 p.m., MASN
Aug. 5: RHP Luis Castillo (6-8) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (5-12); 1:35 p.m., MASN

Inside the Reds:

Barring a miracle, the Reds are headed for another last-place finish in the National League Central. Cincinnati's become quite familiar with living in the cellar, having landed in the bottom of the division three straight seasons. While the franchise isn't planning to hang any pictures or bring in plants to spruce up the place, it's clear the Reds are in need of a serious jumpstart. Since they last met in the season's opening series, the Reds have changed managers, sacking Bryan Price and replacing him with former Nationals skipper Jim Riggleman.

Truth be told, a spark could be ignited from Cincinnati's vigorous lineup. Entering Wednesday's action, the Reds ranked third in the senior circuit with a .257 team batting average, and are led by a crop of players under 30. Let's start with Eugenio Suárez. The third baseman is second on the team with a .300 average and leads the club in home runs (24) and RBIs (81). Second baseman Scooter Gennett - who in addition to having one of the coolest names in baseball - is having a career-best season. He's hitting .313 with 123 hits and earned his first All-Star selection. Shortstop José Peraza shows incredible discipline at the plate, tallying 118 hits to just 46 strikeouts. He's also a major threat along the basepaths, having swiped 17 bases this season. Fans hoping to see NL Rookie of the Year candidate Jesse Winker will be disappointed, though. Winker was transferred to the 60-day disabled list earlier this week with a right shoulder injury that puts an end to an otherwise stellar rookie campaign. Before being injured, Winker hit .299 with 84 hits and 43 RBIs in 89 games. To look after the young guns in the lineup, the Reds also boast veteran slugger Joey Votto. His numbers are down from years past, but the 34-year-old is still a formidable threat at the plate.

Tyler Mahle starts for Cincinnati in tonight's series opener. Mahle got off to a rough start this season, but a solid May and June lowered his season ERA to 3.83. That number took a bit of a hit in July, however, as the right-hander went 1-3 with an 8.62 ERA. He'll aim to get back on track opposite Nationals ace Max Scherzer. Anthony DeSclafani join the starting rotation in early June, and has held his own the past two months. DeSclafani is 4-3 with a 5.47 ERA on the year, but has allowed at least three earned runs in five of his previous six starts. Nationals fans will certainly recognize Saturday's starter for the Reds: longtime divisional foe Matt Harvey. Harvey was traded from the Mets in May in a somewhat headline-grabbing saga. Harvey has made 16 career starts against Washington, and has amassed a 5-4 record and 4.44 ERA in 14 starts with Cincinnati. Second-year man Luis Castillo hasn't lost a decision since June 16, and will face the Nationals for the second time this season in Sunday's finale. Back on March 31, Castillo was roughed up by the Nats, allowing six earned runs over five innings in a game in which Washington put up a baker's dozen of runs. Still, Castillo is coming off of his best start of 2018, a shutout against the Phillies where he allowed four hits and struck out nine batters.

Raisel Iglesias handles the closing duties for the Reds. The 28-year-old has a 2.11 ERA and 21 saves on the season, just seven shy of his single-season best set a year ago. Joining Iglesias in the bullpen are relievers Jared Hughes, Amir Garrett, and David Hernandez.

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