Miami Marlins Game Preview: Game 26 at Washington Nationals
The first month of the 2015 MLB season has shown us precisely why the season is 162 games long and it’s not a good idea to panic when your team suffers through a rocky start to the year.
The Washington Nationals were pegged by virtually everyone to be the class of the National League East, or perhaps even the whole league, and the Miami Marlins were Wild Card sleepers who many thought would make a run for their first playoff birth in 13 years.
Here on May 4, the Nationals are 12-14 and spinning their wheels in fourth place in the NL East, having gone 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Marlins are a half-game ahead of Washington in third place with a 12-13 record. The Marlins, however, are 8-2 in their last 10 contests and just completed an outstanding 7-2 homestand.
Tonight at 7:05 PM, the Fish embark on their first of three trips this season to Nationals Park, and the club will look to keep its streak of success going. David Phelps (1-0, 3.38 ERA) takes the mound for his fourth Marlins start, opposite Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann (2-2, 4.88 ERA). In case you’ve forgotten, the last time Miami faced Zimmermann in D.C., they were no-hit on Closing Day 2014.
The Marlins last faced Zimmermann on April 24 in Miami, the result of which was a 3-2 Marlins win. The Nationals’ hurler went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out four in a no-decision.
Phelps has never faced the Nationals in his career.
What to watch for in tonight’s game:
- Dee Gordon (.440) has the National League’s best batting average, and leads the league in multiple other categories, including WAR. He, along with several other starters, got the day off on Sunday but should be plenty rested for game one of this 10-game road trip.
- Giancarlo Stanton sits fifth in the NL with six home runs. Look for him to add a couple more to his total line in this three-game series at Nationals Park. Stanton has absolutely owned the Nationals over the years, and has hit three home runs off Zimmermann alone with a .939 OPS against the right-hander. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Stanton has hit 14 home runs in 35 games at Nationals Park.
- Martin Prado is 8-for-20 (.400) with three doubles against Zimmermann. The two are quite familiar with each other from Prado’s days with the Atlanta Braves.
Our friends over at District On Deck provided a great series preview piece to get you primed for this critical three-game weekday set. You can check it out right here.
Update, here are the lineups for tonight:
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