In the midst of a tropical storm, the Washington Nationals (77-50) will try to overcome a small stormy patch of their own in a two-game series against the Miami Marlins (58-71) at Marlins Park. The Nats have lost their last four straight games, and they will be eager to return to their winning ways on their final trip to Florida of the season. The Marlins have historically been a tough team for the Nats to claim W's from, though; the Nats have won seven of 13 games in matchups against the Marlins this year.
While these two games might seem like a pretty inconsequential series, especially against a team that is 20 games behind and in last place in the division, as we turn the corner into September the words clinch and playoffs start to apply to every series. Also, with the Atlanta Braves heading to San Diego to face the NL West fourth place Padres (60-70), a win for the Nationals in Miami will mean they can maintain their comfortable five game lead over the second place Braves.
Dealing With Stanton
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has been off the disabled list for over three weeks now, and he hasn't wasted any time heating back up. The Marlins have won nine of the 19 games be has played in since his return, but he is batting .296 and slugging .789 with 10 home runs in that period. Five of those homers were crushed last week, which earned him the honor of National League Player of the Week for the second time in his career.
Stanton has played in just five games against the Nationals this year, due to his time off to have knee surgery. Although Nats pitchers have not yet allowed Stanton to homer off them, he is batting .400 against the Nationals' staff this season.
While the Nationals will be trying to get their own hot streak started, they will be trying to put a stop to Stanton's. If the Nats can rein Stanton in, they will have a much easier time of frying the Fish.
- Since the All-Star Break, Ricky Nolasco has a 1-6 record with a 6.70 ERA, and Nationals hitters are batting .304 off him this season. In his last start, Nolasco allowed five runs in the first inning in a game the Marlins ultimately went on to win 6-5 in 10 innings.
- Second baseman Donovan Solano, brother to Nationals catcher Jhonatan Solano, is riding a career best 10-game winning streak.
Donovan Solano (2B) .480 AVG, .567 OBP, .480 SLG, 25 AB (last seven games)
Giancarlo Stanton (RF) .286 AVG, .310 OBP, .857 SLG, 5 HR, 28 AB (last seven games)
Chris Hatcher (RP) 0.90 ERA, .176 BAA, 6 SO, 10 IP (last seven games)
Carlos Lee (1B) .207 AVG, .303 OBP, .310 SLG, 29 AB (last seven games)
Heath Bell (RP) 7.50 ERA, .357 BAA, 6 SO, 6.0 IP (last seven games)
Stephen Strasburg (15-5, 2.85 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (9-12, 5.07 ERA)
Ross Detwiler (7-6, 3.25 ERA) vs. Jacob Turner (1-2, 4.50 ERA)