Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals series primer
The Miami Marlins gained ground in the National League East during a 7-2 homestand, which began with a series sweep of the Washington Nationals.
Miami is 3.5 games back of the New York Mets after falling as far behind as eight during the first roadtrip of the season two weeks ago.
The Marlins (12-13) seek that same success on a 10-game trip that begins in the nation's capital on Monday night. Since the last time the clubs met, the Nationals (12-14) have captured consecutive series, including three of four contests from the Mets. Despite a loss on Sunday to the Philadelphia Phillies, Miami has won four straight series.
Righty David Phelps kicks if off with his fourth consecutive start after beginning the season in the bullpen. He is 1-0 with a 1.53 ERA as a starter. He has yet to face the Nationals in his career. All-Star righty Jordan Zimmermann received a no decision on April 24 against the Marlins after six innings of two-run ball. He pitched a season-high seven frames in a win over Atlanta in his last start.
Right-hander Mat Latos will start Tuesday's game after all. Latos, who exited his last outing with a left hamstring strain running out a single, seeks his first victory of the season. He got a no decision in his earlier start against the Nationals, allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings. Righty Stephen Strasburg labored in his last outing but still picked up the win by giving up two runs in 5 1/3 on 100 pitches. He took the loss on April 25 against the Marlins by surrendering four runs on eight hits over six frames.
Tom Koehler didn't have his best stuff but kept his ballclub in the game for the victory on Friday. He went just five innings and allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. He tossed 7 1/3 scoreless against the Nationals on April 25. Max Scherzer faces the Marlins for the first time. The righty has been the victim of low run support with Washington scoring one run or fewer in three of his five starts, including his most recent against the Mets when he gave up just one run over seven frames.
Here's a look at the upcoming Marlins-Nationals three-game series:
SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS
2B Dee Gordon (Marlins): Gordon leads the majors in both hits (44) and average (.440). In eight games during the homestand, he went 20 for 31 (.645) with five runs, a double, two RBI and four stolen bases. Gordon has collected six consecutive multi-hit games.
C Wilson Ramos (Nationals): Offense was in short supply during the series in New York, but Ramos posted back-to-back two-hit games. He is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in four of them. Oddly enough, Ramos doesn't have an extra basehit since April 15.
1B Michael Morse (Marlins): Morse went 3 for 28 (.107) with 12 strikeouts and an RBI in seven games during the homestand. Because of his struggles, manager Mike Redmond sat him twice. He doesn't have an extra basehit since April 18 -- a span of 11 contests.
LF Jayson Werth (Nationals): After recording his first multi-hit game since April 25 in Thursday's opener against the Mets, Werth closed out the series by going 1 for 12 with a run, a walk and three strikeouts. He has the lowest average of any Washington regular. He has also gone hitless in nine of 18 contests.
1: Time the Nationals/Expos have won consecutive 1-0 games. Washington did so on Saturday and Sunday against the Mets.
21: Starts for Strasburg against the Marlins, most for any opponent. He is 9-6 with a 3.58 in the first 20 outings.
14: Homers for the Marlins this season, tied for last in the NL with the Phillies. It's also the number of home runs for Giancarlo Stanton at Nationals Park, most of any visiting ballpark.
.438: Average for Marcell Ozuna in 16 at-bats against Strasburg with a double, a triple and a homer
"I'd love to sit here and say we can play nine guys for 162 games, but that's not possible. We need to keep guys moving in and out as much as we possibly can. Knowing that we've got a big road trip, tough road trip (ahead), we've got to keep all those guys fresh with all the travel going from East Coast to West Coast. This thing is a grind. You've got to keep these players fresh for the long haul." -- Manager Mike Redmond on sitting some regulars for the series finale loss on Sunday
"The sixth inning was about as bad as you can get. We talk about shutdown innings as pitchers. I was able to do that the first time. We got out to a quick lead. I pretty much cruised through five." -- Right-hander Jarred Cosart on his outing on Sunday
The Marlins head west to play the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants for a four-game series. They will reunite with 2014 NL Comeback Player of the Year Casey McGehee.