The Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals will lace 'em up again Saturday for the third game of a four-game set at Nationals Park. The first pitch is set for 1:05 PM ET with FOX on the coverage.
Both teams were considered among the favorites to win the World Series prior to the season after winning their respective divisions in 2012. However, neither team is currently atop its division.
Washington has cooled off considerably following a 7-2 start. It has dropped 9 of its last 14. An offense that is hitting just .239 and producing only 3.7 runs per game is a big reason for the slump.
Washington has won six of its last seven at home versus Cincinnati but could have trouble continuing its dominance of the Reds with Dan Haren expected to get the start. Haren has won at all of his stops but has yet to figure it out in Washington. He's 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA through his first four starts and gave up six earned runs in a 15-0 loss to the Reds in his first start of the season. Haren is 2-3 with a 5.26 ERA in seven games, six starts, versus Cincinnati.
The Reds appear to be in better hands with Mike Leake, who is 1-0 with a 3.81 ERA in 4 starts. Cincinnati has won his last two outings but lost his Apr. 6 start against the Nationals, during which he gave up four earned runs in six innings. Leake is 3-2 with a 5.26 ERA in seven starts versus Washington.
Prediction: Take Washington on the money line.
Haren was hit hard by Cincinnati earlier this season but has settled in since, giving up just three earned runs in each of his past three starts. He's a lot more proven than Leake. Plus, the Reds have really struggled on the road where they were hitting just .221 heading into yesterday's contest. And, they have had difficulties in Washington. Something tells me Haren isn't going to allow the Reds to spray him all around the yard again.