W2W4: Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals – 8/1

MIAMI, FL - JULY 31: Dee Gordon
MIAMI, FL - JULY 31: Dee Gordon /

The Miami Marlins lost a nail-bitter to the Nationals on Monday. They’ll look to recoup at get a win on Tuesday.

On monday night, Washington Nationals lefty and Miami-native Gio Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. It was a thrilling and impressive performance. Dee Gordon managed to end his bid for history with a bleeding line-drive over the shortstops head.

The Miami Marlins would ultimately lose the game, failing to score a run while managing only two hits. Jose Urena pitched the best game of his career. The Dominican righty went eight innings, allowing only one earned run on three hits.

On Tuesday, Miami will look to take game two of the series, and force a rubber game on Wednesday night.

The hometown team will be sending everyones favorite underdog Chris O’Grady to the mound to make his fifth career start. O’Grady (2-1, 3.68 ERA) is coming off the best start of his young career. He pitched seven innings, while only five hits and no earned runs.

He’ll face an uphill battle in todays matchup.

The Washington Nationals counter with Max Scherzer. The veteran right hander is having a Cy Young Award worthy season, and made his fifth consecutive All-Star game this season. Scherzer (12-5, 2.23 ERA) has been among the most dominant arms in Major League Baseball this season.

Here are three things to watch for in today’s game:

Scherzer near no-hitter encore

The last time Max Scherzer faced this Miami Marlins lineup, he was clicking on all cylinders. He carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and appeared poised to go the distance. He didn’t. A chopper ricocheted off the top of Scherzer’s glove and A.J. Ellis broke up his bid for history.

The Miami Marlins would manufacture a win in a game they appeared destined to become a footnote in history. Scherzer was noticeably upset in the dugout at the end of the game. With another shot at this lineup, he could be pitching with a vengeance.

It’s never wise to predict a no-hitter. But if anyone is capable of throwing one, it’ll be Max Scherzer. If the Marlins can mange a few early runs, it’ll take the pressure off. Look for them to be aggressive early in the count against Scherzer’s fastball.

Chris O’Grady’s turn to slug back

Chris O’Grady is one of the few feel-good stories of the year for the Miami Marlins. The left-hander has emerged from relative obscurity and is competing for a 2018 rotation spot. He remains a long shot, but he continues to give management reason to keep trotting him out to the mound.

In many ways, he’s competing against fellow 27-year old lefty Adam Conley. Conley will be given preferential treatment as a former second round selection and known commodity. Lately, the two have been going toe-to-toe with excellent starts. Now it’s O’Grady’s turn to respond.

He’ll want to go at least six innings, preferably seven. If he can limit the Nationals to two runs or fewer, he’ll take a decisive step forward in his quest to establish himself in MLB.

Lineup looking to regain form

The Miami Marlins lineup will be looking to rebound from Monday nights malaise. The team has been hitting the ball at a torrent pace, but was taken to task by Gio Gonzalez last night. Gonzalez was at the top of his game, and sometimes you have to tip your cap to an excellent performance.

They won’t see any drop off against Max Scherzer on Tuesday night. Scherzer has an average game score of 69 this season, and has only posted one outing considered below-average all year.

Still, this Marlins lineup remains one of the most potent in baseball, and if they can capitalize on whatever mistakes Scherzer makes, they’ll chase him early. Get to the pen, therein lies the Miami Marlins greatest hope for victory.

Next: Wei-Yin Chen could return to rotation this season

It’s easy to see why the Nationals have run roughshod through the rest of the league. On any given night, they send a pitcher to the mound that is capable of dominating a talented lineup of hitters.

The Miami Marlins have been playing better baseball, but have now lost two games in a row. They’ll be looking to break that streak, and play for a series victory on Wednesday.

First pitch is at 7:10 from Marlins Park.