The Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals are about to have a three game showdown in our nation’s capital.
Although the Miami Marlins trail the Nationals by 9.5 games in the standings, the two clubs are a lot closer than that would indicate. In particular, the Marlins rotation remains amongst the best in the MLB, going by starter ERA. In this series in particular, Miami will send out Zac Gallen (0-1, 3.60), All-Star Sandy Alcantara (4-7, 3.86), and Elieser Hernandez (1-2, 4.07).
Despite two of the three starters in the series not being amongst the opening day rotation, they’ve held the fort very well while injuries are tended to. Along with Jordan Yamamoto (3-0, 2.35), the three have ably filled in for Jose Urena (4-7, 4.70), Caleb Smith (3-4, 3.41), and Pablo Lopez (5-5, 4.23). Trevor Richards (3-9, 4.02) joins Alcantara as the only starters remaining from Opening Day.
Tonight’s starting lineup will see Miguel Rojas lead off and play at his favored position of shortstop. Although Rojas can play anywhere on the infield, it’s clear he favors his most natural position, with a solid .980 fielding percentage in 74 starts there this season. Rojas has only totaled 20 innings at positions other than shortstop this season, racking up 14 at first base and six at second. Rojas has been hot lately, and his season average has tracked all the way up to .287, although he’ll never really hit for power despite totaling 11 homers last season. He has 20 multi base hits this season, all doubles.
Pleasant surprise Harold Ramirez follows Rojas. In 43 games to start his major league career, Ramirez has hit .307/.343/.399 with 19 RBI. Although he’s listed as a center fielder by trade, Ramirez has appeared liberally at all three outfield spots. Tonight he’ll start in left.
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Garrett Cooper rounds out the top three in the order, another pleasant surprise with the lumber. After famously landing on the injured list four times through his first two Miami Marlins seasons, Cooper’s bat has exploded for a .317/.383/.488 line through 72 games in 2019. He’s also responsible for several highlight reel plays at first base, for those paying attention to these Marlins.
Third baseman Brian Anderson will start for the Marlins in right and bat fourth, followed by four-time all-star Starlin Castro starting at second base and batting fifth. Neil Walker, recently off the IL, bats sixth and will man the hot corner. This is his first action at third base since 2009, in his first season with the Pittsburgh Pirates major league level club.
Jorge Alfaro will handle the catching duties and bat seventh, while Cesar Puello will bat eighth out of center field. Gallen, of course, will bat ninth, but don’t sleep on him at the plate either. He’s one-for-four in his first four major league plate appearances.
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