Nationals-Marlins Preview

Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond said he saw signs of

improvement from his struggling offense in a series-opening loss to

the Washington Nationals.

That’s exactly what he got – and plenty of it.

After watching his team’s slumbering bats finally awaken,

Redmond would like to see the Marlins post consecutive wins for the

first time Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals, who

hope to have Bryce Harper back in the lineup.

Runs figured to be at a premium this season for the rebuilding

Marlins, but 23 in the first 13 games would’ve been impossible to

predict. Still, that’s how many Miami (3-11) had totaled after

Monday’s 10-3 loss to Washington (8-6), the team’s eighth in nine

games.

Redmond remained optimistic after the Marlins were held to six

hits in that defeat.

“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.”

Grow on it they did, setting a season high in runs and ending a

long homerless drought in an 8-2 victory Tuesday. Adeiny

Hechavarria hit a three-run homer and Justin Ruggiano added three

RBIs as Miami exceeded its run total from the previous five

games.

Redmond said Hechavarria’s homer provided the kick-start the

Marlins needed.

“We’ve been waiting for a big hit for a while. We knew it was

going to come. We didn’t know who it was going to come from.

“It was big for everybody. I think for everybody, it was like,

‘All right, here we go’ – a nice sigh and a little bit of

relief.”

All the offense came without slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who

missed his fifth consecutive game with a bruised left shoulder.

Stanton said he felt better after taking batting practice early

Tuesday, and will see how he feels Wednesday before a decision is

made on his status.

“We want to make sure that he’s right, and that it doesn’t still

hurt him,” Redmond told the team’s official website. “We don’t want

to push him. We want to make sure everything feels right with him

before we do that.”

The Marlins hadn’t homered in a franchise record-tying nine

straight games before Hechavarria connected for the team’s major

league-low third of the season.

Washington outfielders Harper and Denard Span sat out with

flu-like symptoms, but both could return for this game. The

Nationals were also without second baseman Danny Espinosa, who has

a bruised right hand.

Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.12 ERA) probably wouldn’t mind if Harper

sat out again since the Nationals’ star hit two homers off him in

Washington’s 2-0 opening-day win April 1.

The right-hander, though, pitched very well otherwise in that

game and had thrown consecutive shutouts – wins by a combined 17-0

score – in his two previous outings against the Nationals. He is

10-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 19 starts in the series.

Nolasco allowed one run and seven hits over six innings Friday

against Philadelphia, but Miami managed only four hits in a 3-1,

10-inning loss.

Ross Detwiler (0-0, 0.69) will try to provide Washington with

another strong performance. He has no decisions despite allowing

one earned run and 10 hits in 13 innings with three walks and six

strikeouts.

The left-hander was in line for the win Friday after holding

Atlanta to one run and four hits over seven innings, but his

bullpen couldn’t hold the lead for the second time.

Detwiler is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts against the

Marlins, all coming last season.