Nationals-Marlins Preview

A game against the Miami Marlins seems to be what the Washington

Nationals needed to get back on track.

Dan Haren, who is off to an underwhelming start, hopes for a

similar result when he gets the ball Tuesday night against the

lowly Marlins.

The Nationals (8-5) got off to a fast start by winning seven of

their first nine games before being humbled by Atlanta over the

weekend. Washington was outscored 18-5 in getting swept in a

three-game home series.

The Nationals were able to quickly put that disappointment

behind them by pounding out a season-high 16 hits in Monday’s 10-3

win in Miami.

“It’s nice to have success, especially after that series we just

came from,” said Ian Desmond, who went 4 for 5 with a pair of

doubles after totaling two hits against the Braves.

The game quickly got out of hand as Jordan Zimmermann retired

the first 10 batters, and the score was 8-0 before the Marlins had

a baserunner. Zimmermann pitched a six-hitter for his second career

complete game and Ryan Zimmerman hit his first home run and drove

in four.

Zimmerman is 7 for 15 (.467) with seven RBIs against the Marlins

(2-11), whom the Nationals swept in a season-opening series.

Haren’s turn in the rotation didn’t come up in that series, and

this time he’ll hope to take advantage of a Miami lineup that could

be without Giancarlo Stanton (bruised left shoulder) for a fifth

straight game.

The slugger plans to take batting practice Tuesday and said he

might even play, although later in the week is more likely.

“It’s not fun to watch,” Stanton said. “I’d rather be

participating.”

After serving up four homers and surrendering six runs in a 15-0

loss to Cincinnati in his Washington debut, Haren (1-1, 9.00 ERA)

gave up three runs and 10 hits over five innings in Thursday’s 7-4

win over the Chicago White Sox. The veteran right-hander has yet to

issue a walk but is allowing opponents to hit .413.

“I’ve kind of shown flashes of how I can be,” the three-time

All-Star said, “but haven’t really put it all together yet.”

He would seem to have a better shot of putting together a decent

outing against a Marlins team that ranks last in the majors in runs

(23), homers (two) and slugging percentage (.262).

Despite going without a homer for the ninth consecutive game,

which ties the franchise record set by the 1993 expansion team,

Miami manager Mike Redmond said he saw signs of improvement in the

opener.

“I felt we had much better swings than we’ve had in the last few

days,” he said. “Hopefully that’s something we can grow on.”

Some semblance of an offense would certainly make things easier

for scheduled starter Alex Sanabia (1-1, 4.91).

Sanabia was working on his second straight scoreless outing

Wednesday against Atlanta before being tagged for six runs in the

fifth, his final inning. The righty had thrown 10 consecutive

shutout innings before getting roughed up.

Sanabia, who spent last season in the minors, is 2-1 with a 2.04

ERA in three career starts against the Nationals – all coming in

2010.

Haren has a 1.19 ERA in his last three starts against the

Marlins, but hasn’t faced them since 2010, while with Arizona.

Nationals outfielders Bryce Harper and Denard Span are out of

Tuesday night’s lineup with flu-like symptoms.