Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals series primer

Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna enters the series against Washington having gone 7-for-22 (.318) with six runs, three homers and nine RBI in his last six games.

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The first time the Miami Marlins went on the road, a streaking ballclub came back down to Earth when it went winless during a six-game trip that began in Washington. A month later, Miami continues to struggle on the road with the worst record (6-17) in the majors.

Despite that, the Marlins (26-25) sit a half game ahead of the Nationals (25-25) as both chase the Atlanta Braves (28-21) for first in the National League East.

Much has changed since that first meeting in the nation’s capital, particularly Washington’s lineup. Outfielder Bryce Harper, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and left-hander Gio Gonzalez are on the disabled list. Catcher Wilson Ramos has returned from the DL.

Like the rest of the rotation, Nathan Eovaldi looks to improve away from Marlins Park. He is 0-1 with a 4.98 ERA on the road this season. Tanner Roark took the loss in his last start although he gave up just one earned run over six innings.

Henderson Alvarez continued his consecutive scoreless streak at home (16) this past week, but he allowed 10 runs in 10 innings during the previous road trip. Blake Treinen has lost both of his starts since taking over for Gonzalez. He has permitted five runs (two earned) in 10 2/3 frames.

Tom Koehler surrendered a season-worst seven runs on nine hits in five innings for a loss against the Milwaukee Brewers last Friday. Righty Jordan Zimmermann hasn’t had the best May, surrendering 12 runs on 30 hits in 21 2/3 frames.

Washington hasn’t been the friendliest of places for the Marlins, who have dropped 12 of 13 there dating back to last year. The Nationals are 5-1 against Miami this season.

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After three games in Washington, the Marlins will come home for a homestand against the Braves and Tampa Bay Rays.

Here’s a look at the upcoming Marlins-Nationals series:

SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS

WHO’S HOT

CF Marcell Ozuna (Marlins): After going hitless in five of his 10 games on the road trip, Ozuna went 7-for-22 (.318) with six runs, three homers and nine RBI over six home games. During that stretch, he recorded three multi-hit games, while striking out four times and walking thrice.

SS Ian Desmond (Nationals): Desmond is batting .300 with four homers and seven RBI over his past 10 games. He has hits in eight of them, including four multi-hit contests. His average has jumped from .222 to .241.

WHO’S NOT

LF Christian Yelich (Marlins): A leadoff batter is supposed to get onbase, but Yelich has struggled to do so lately. In his past 10 games, he is hitting .167 (7-for-42) with six runs, one homer, five RBI, six walks and nine strikeouts. He has been held hitless in six of them, dropping his average to a season-low .250.

2B Danny Espinosa (Nationals): Espinosa is hitless in seven of his last 10 games, going 4-for-36 (.111) with two runs, no homers and two RBI. He has struck out 16 times and walked just twice.

STORYLINES

59: Infield hits for the Marlins, which leads the majors

3: Homers in 22 at-bats by Giancarlo Stanton against Nationals righty Jordan Zimmermann

.952: Winning percentage for Washington when scoring four or more runs

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15: Eighth-inning runs for the Nationals against the Marlins in six games this season

QUOTE BOARD

"I think they’re all important. No more important in May, whatever the date is, than it is two weeks from now or three weeks from now. I think we’re playing good baseball. I think we definitely have some areas where we need to get better in, and that’s a work in progress. But I love the effort, and that’s all around. These guys come and they bring it every single day, and I’m happy with that. … We have a chance to go to Washington and hopefully go in there and play our game with confidence and hopefully get a couple of wins." — Manager Mike Redmond on the quick three-game trip

"For us it is about remaining consistent and having consistent at-bats, and trusting our pitchers. They’re keeping us in a lot of ballgames, overall. It’s up to us to manufacture runs — have good at-bats, and manufacture runs any way we can." — First baseman Garrett Jones on the offense’s mentality with Jose Fernandez out

LOOKING AHEAD

May 29-June 1 — Braves at Marlins

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.