MLB LOOK AHEAD

Nationals return home to open series against Reds

Field Level Media

August 12, 2019 at 3:34 am.

Jul 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA;  Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) singles in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Photo Credit: Tommy-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) singles in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Photo Credit: Tommy-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals were able to breathe a sigh of relief after winning the series finale against the hottest team in the majors.

While the result was a plus, Washington learned that star Juan Soto’s right ankle injury is considered mild in severity.

The Nationals, however, could be without Soto on Monday as they play the opener of their three-game series against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.

Soto sustained the injury while running the bases on Asdrubal Cabrera’s go-ahead, two-run double with two outs in the seventh inning of Washington’s 7-4 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.

X-rays were negative and Soto is considered day to day, per manager Davey Martinez.

“Good. I feel a little better now,” the 20-year-old Soto said, per MASN. “Walking is getting better. I just went 100 percent running to the plate and then Bobby (Henley) tried to stop me and, when I tried to stop, my ankle just rolled over. Then I just tried to go back and I can’t. I stayed there and made myself out. After that, I started feeling pinches in my ankle. But right now it’s feeling better.”

Soto has reached base in 17 straight games, and his 24 homers and 77 RBIs trail only Anthony Rendon (25, 90) for the team lead.

Rendon recorded his first four-hit performance of the season on Sunday and went 5-for-10 as the Nationals won two of three meetings against the Reds on May 31-June 2.

The 29-year-old is 0-for-7 in his career against Monday starter Anthony DeSclafani (7-6, 4.20 ERA), who won his last start despite allowing four runs — including two homers — in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-4 victory against the Los Angeles Angels.

DeSclafani owns a 2-0 mark with a 2.17 ERA in seven career appearances (four starts) versus Washington.

Nationals right-hander Erick Fedde (2-2, 4.20 ERA) will make his third start on Monday in place of the Max Scherzer, who was placed on the 10-day injured list on July 29 (retroactive to July 26) with an upper back strain.

Fedde rebounded after a dreadful nine-run performance against Atlanta on July 30 by scattering six hits over as many innings without walking a batter in a 4-0 win at San Francisco last Monday.

The 26-year-old received a no-decision in his lone career start versus Cincinnati on June 1 after permitting two runs on six hits in four innings of the Nationals’ 5-2 win.

Fedde would be wise to keep an eye on Eugenio Suarez, who homered in his third consecutive contest on Sunday before the bottom fell out as Cincinnati settled for a four-game series split following a 6-3 setback to the Chicago Cubs.

The 28-year-old Suarez has four of his team-leading 33 homers to go along with four RBIs and six runs scored during his five-game hitting streak. He went 3-for-10 against Washington in the previous series.

“Geno has been solid all year. He hits right in the middle of our order. He’s important to our team in a lot of ways,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Many good things happening for us offensively and he’s been a constant in that mix all year.”

Rookie Aristides Aquino had an RBI single in the third inning on Sunday to extend his hitting streak to eight games, during which he is a robust 14-for-25 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 10 runs scored.

Aquino’s production aside, Bell’s focus is on rebounding after the team’s fifth loss in 15 games.

“We have to come out tomorrow and play. That is the only way to bounce back,” Bell said. “If you spend time thinking about missed opportunities, it is a losing attitude.”