Miami’s Henderson Alvarez has been an elite starter atop his home mound this season, while his work away from Marlins Park hasn’t reached that standard.
The right-hander will be after his first road victory Tuesday night in Washington as the Marlins continue trying to overcome their recent road struggles against the Nationals.
Alvarez (2-3, 3.21 ERA) is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA at home, but is 0-2 with a 4.88 mark and .350 opponent batting average on the road – including nine earned runs over 10 innings in his last two outings.
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His last start came at home, and he limited Philadelphia to four hits in seven scoreless innings of a 4-3 win. He didn’t factor into the decision, though he continued to provide the team with hope of collectively overcoming the loss of ace Jose Fernandez.
Miami starters had a 3.22 ERA and .235 opponent batting average through Fernandez’s last start May 9. With a 5.09 ERA and .309 average in 16 games since, the rotation still has some work to do.
"With Jose’s injury, we don’t feel extra pressure individually," Alvarez told the team’s official website. "We feel it as a whole. As a unit we’ve got to go out there and do our best and carry each other."
Alvarez is 0-3 with a 3.81 ERA in five starts against the Nationals, and one of those losses came in a 5-0 defeat in Washington on April 8. The 24-year-old allowed three runs – one earned – and six hits in 5 2-3 innings.
He’ll be relieved to avoid the injured Bryce Harper, who is 6 for 13 with two home runs off Alvarez. Adam LaRoche, however, recently returned from the disabled list and is 5 for 11 against him.
LaRoche homered in a series-opening 3-2 loss that gave the Marlins (27-25) their second road win in 14 tries against the Nationals (25-26).
Giancarlo Stanton also went deep in a 3-for-4 day. At Nationals Park, he’s now batting .333 in 129 career at-bats with 14 home runs and 27 RBIs. He has homered there more than any other visiting player during that time.
"(Stanton) crushed that (homer) and had some great at-bats, and that’s what it’s going to take for us to win games on the road," said manager Mike Redmond, whose club is now 7-17 on the road with four wins in its last six.
The Nationals, who have lost five of six, managed three hits and are batting .195 with 14 runs during the slide. Danny Espinosa went 0 for 2 before he was removed for a pinch hitter, extending his personal slump to 4 for 38 over 11 contests.
"He’s working on making some adjustments," manager Matt Williams told the team’s official website. "He’s a little too aggressive at this point. So he’s swinging at some balls that are out of the zone."
The Nationals will try to recover with Blake Treinen going after his first career victory. Treinen (0-2, 1.56), who made three relief appearances before entering the rotation, is making his third start and could use some run support to avoid a third straight loss. He’s allowed two earned runs in 10 2-3 innings over the first two starts of his career while receiving just one run of backing.
Treinen gave up two runs and four hits but walked five in 5 2-3 innings of a 3-1 loss in Pittsburgh on Thursday. His catcher remains impressed.
"It looked like (Treinen) lost his focus a little bit. That happens to the young guys sometimes," Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos said. "He is really good. When that guy gets a little more experience, he will be a great pitcher."