Miami Marlins Series Preview: Marlins Head to Nation’s Capital

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Apr 12, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws a pitch during first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

EK: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will face this series?

RK: Tonight, the Nationals will throw Jordan Zimmermann against David Phelps. Zimmermann was good against Miami last time out. He gave up two runs over six innings and found a way to get out of some key jams in the game. He is coming into this start after striking a season high seven players against the Braves in his last start. Zimmermann had issues with his mechanics in the early stages, but he may be starting to figure it out.

As for Strasburg on Tuesday, the key for him is to not solely rely on his fastball, which got him into trouble against Stanton and the Marlins the last time he faced him (four runs over six innings). If he locates his fastball well early in the count, it will allow him to use his changeup and curveball to put away more hitters.

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Finally, Max Scherzer gets the ball on Wednesday afternoon and he has been everything that Nats fans can hope for in an ace. He struck out ten Mets in his last start, but made one mistake to Michael Cuddyer, which cost him the game. For Scherzer, the Nationals need to get him run support. In three losses this season, Washington has scored a combined two runs for him! He has eight or more strikeouts in four of his five starts and he showed no ill effects of the jammed thumb he got while swinging the bat against the Cardinals a couple of weeks ago. As good as Miami has played over the last week-10 days, it will be no easy task to win this series.

EK: Any bold predictions for the series? Do the Nationals get their revenge?

RK: My prediction for this series is I think the Nationals will take two out of three. As good as the Marlins are playing right now, this is a different Nationals team than the one Miami played in their building. While Jayson Werth is still struggling, Ian Desmond is hitting the ball well the last couple of days and Wilson Ramos is coming into this series on an eight game hitting streak. Washington’s offense struggled against Mat Latos and Tom Koehler last time and I don’t expect those struggles to repeat because the offense has looked much different.

Of course, you can’t talk about the Nats without talking about Bryce Harper. I have been very impressed by Harper’s plate discipline since spring training because he is being very selective and working good at-bats practically everytime up. Since Harper hit a home run against Miami in the last series (off of Dan Haren), I will say Harper hits two home runs this series in his own ballpark. With the Nationals back home and feeling better about themselves over the last week, I give them the slight edge over the Marlins to win the series.

There you have it. We want to thank Ricky for giving us such great insight into the Nationals. Remember to check out District on Deck for all their excellent coverage of latest Nationals’ news and notes. Also be sure to follow Ricky Keeler, his co-editor Pablo Roa, and District on Deck on Twitter.

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