Caleb Smith, Marlins face Washington starting Friday

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 13: Austin Dean #44 of the Miami Marlins celebrates with Miguel Rojas #19 after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on April 13, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 13: Austin Dean #44 of the Miami Marlins celebrates with Miguel Rojas #19 after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on April 13, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Can Caleb Smith and the Miami Marlins get a much-needed win at home against the Washington Nationals on Friday night?

The Miami Marlins once again find themselves in a familiar situation, calling on one of their young pitchers, Caleb Smith, to stop another losing streak. This time, the Marlins face Washington in a three-game series at Marlins Park starting Friday.

When is there not going to be a time where the Miami Marlins ask one of their young pitchers to take the mound and lead the team to victory after losing another series at home? When the ballclub takes the diamond on Friday night at Marlins Park, manager Don Mattingly will give the ball to Smith and hopes the hard-throwing lefty can set the table for a much-needed win.

For the season, Smith has 21 strikeouts in 17 innings and has gone six innings or more in consecutive starts. It’s the lineup behind him that has not been able to produce runs. He is currently 1-0 for the season with a 2.65 ERA.

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The Marlins lineup should look a little different again tonight as Lewis Brinson is expected to once again sit while mired in a slump.

News and notes: A meeting in the clubhouse

Following the 6-0 loss at home to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, Mattingly held a team meeting to discuss the current situation with the 25-man roster and try to gauge how to improve the team’s performance at the plate.

"Per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, “Wins have been hard to come by, as Miami fell to 4-15, including a 1-5 homestand with three still to play against Washington. During the series with the Cubs, the club scored just two runs and went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, while leaving 20 on base.”"

No team in Major League Baseball will win with that lack of productivity. For a team that showed it could move baserunners around during the Grapefruit League, the Marlins need to find a way back to basics to plate players.

"“We can’t separate ourselves from blaming this group or blaming that group,” Mattingly told reporters. “As a team, we’re just going to have to get better or find a way to scratch for runs, and keep runs off the board, and make plays, and make pitches when we need to, and give ourselves more chances to win.”"

The Marlins will call on veterans like Miguel Rojas, who said the current situation is one of the lowest points in his time with the team. He and his teammates have to just plug along and work hard to get back to playing winning baseball.

"“I think this is the lowest point that we could reach, to be honest with you,” shortstop Miguel Rojas said. “We’re touching under the water right now.“We have an off-day at the right time. We’re going home, trying to change the mindset, and walk here in this clubhouse Friday with a different mindset. We have to make things happen, instead of just wait for something magical to happen.”"

The Marlins will face Anibal Sanchez of the Nationals on Friday night. Sanchez started his career here in Miami. He played seven seasons in South Florida before moving on. In five games he has pitched against Miami, he owns a 2.91 ERA.

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