MLB: TJ Friedl looks to ride momentum when Reds visit Nats

The Cincinnati Reds want to make some highlights this season, and maybe center fielder TJ Friedl can show them how it’s done.

The Reds and Washington Nationals are rather desperate for good results. So, these two teams that are far out of playoff contention could use sustained pick-me-ups when they meet Sunday afternoon in Washington.

Friedl is coming off the most complete game of his 54-game career in the major leagues, as he blasted a home run among his three hits Saturday in addition to making stellar defensive plays in Cincinnati’s 6-2 victory.

“Just doing what I can do to help the team,” Friedl said.

The Reds hold a two game-winning streak and will aim for a sweep. They’ll be trying to win a third straight game for just the second time since the All-Star break.

All the pieces have to fit together in order for that to take place. The Reds might have gotten off to a good start in that regard when Luis Cessa gave them four solid innings in Saturday night’s game. That could set up manager David Bell for more options when it comes to making moves in the series finale.

“I wanted to do what I could do to save the bullpen,” Cessa said. “It was a really good win for the team.”

Cincinnati and Washington have split six meetings this season going into their final matchup of the year.

The Nationals are still without 20 home wins with a 19-46 mark at Nationals Park.

“We’ve got to get some consistency, both out of starting pitchers and out of our lineup,” Washington manager Davey Martinez said. “We’ve got to keep battling. No one’s going to feel sorry for us.”

The Nationals might be benefitting from outfielder Lane Thomas’ production since he has moved into a more regular role in the lineup. This came about after the trade deadline when there was a bit of a roster shakeup.

Thomas homered Saturday night, one day after a nine-game hitting streak was snapped.

“I thought he has done well,” Martinez said. “He’s getting an opportunity to play. I’ve told him, ‘As long as you continue to show me you do what you do, I love watching you play.’ ”

While the Nationals have been sluggish offensively at times, they can be encouraged that their batters struck out only five times Saturday.

The Reds have left-hander Nick Lodolo (3-4, 4.35 ERA) pegged as the starting pitcher. The rookie is 0-1 with four no-decisions in his last five starts.

Lodolo has struck out seven or more batters in six of his 12 career starts. He has fanned 77 in 60 total innings.

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin (4-17, 6.81) has gone 0-7 in his last eight starts, but he’ll have another chance to bid for his first victory since June 28.

Corbin is 4-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 12 all-time matchups with the Reds. He picked up the victory against Cincinnati on June 5 by going six innings and allowing three runs and nine hits.

–Field Level Media

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