After losing a second-rate series to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Washington Nationals (47-45) are in need of a confidence booster to take them into the All-Star Break. Hopefully their face-off against the National League-worst Miami Marlins (33-57) will provide such a boost.
The Marlins are 19 games out of first place in the NL East, and hold the second-worst record in baseball. They have gone 4-6 in July, and just broke out of a five-game losing streak after winning their series finale with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
The Nationals are 6-5 in July, and have a good track record against Miami this season. They have won both series they’ve played against them, going 5-1 in those games.
Now six games behind the Braves in the standings, the Nationals could certainly use a strong series in Florida to pad their record as the season enters crunch time.
For a team that struggles with scoring runs, there might not be a better opponent to face than the Marlins.
The Marlins have a -92 run differential (second-worst in MLB), and average 3.27 runs per game. Though the Nationals’ run differential is also in the negative (-11), they still average more runs per game than the Marlins with 3.78.
In July, the Nationals have been better at bringing runs home, averaging 4.82 runs per game, even in spite of their dearth of offense in Philadelphia when they scored only 10 runs over four games.
The Marlins have stuck closer to their season-average in July, averaging 3.5 runs through 10 games.
Despite their myriad of offensive struggles through the first half of the season, the Nationals have still managed to keep their stats ahead of Miami, whose .232/.291/.339 slash line is an MLB-worst in every category.
The Nationals counter with a slightly better .240/.299/.387 slash line, though the numbers of current Nats against the Marlins is a strong .281/.333/.459.
The Marlins’ 3.91 ERA sits at 16th place in the major leagues, and against the Nationals it’s a beefy 4.59. However, starting pitchers for the Fish have allowed more than three earned runs in an outing just three times in their last 23 games.
Though nearly all the numbers strongly support a Nationals victory, the stats only exist on paper. In practice, the Nats will have to play like a team that knows they are worthy of winning, and remind the Marlins of their place on the National League totem pole.
In The Zone
Jayson Werth (RF) .478 AVG, .536 OBP, .739 SLG, 2 HR, 4 RBI (last seven games)
Adeiny Hechavarria (SS) .391 AVG, .417 OBP, .478 SLG, 2 2B (last six games)
Logan Morrison (1B) .238 AVG, .273 OBP, .524 SLG, 2 HR (last six games)
Justin Ruggiano (CF) .048 AVG, .200 OBP, .048 SLG, 1 H (last six games)
Marcell Ozuna (RF) .083 AVG, .154 OBP, .167 SLG, 4 SO (last six games)
7/12, Stephen Strasburg (5-6, 2.45 ERA, .222 BAA, 107 SO) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.55 ERA, .188 BAA, 13 SO)
7/13, Dan Haren (4-10, 6.00 ERA, .307 BAA, 74 SO) vs. Jose Fernandez (5-5, 2.83 ERA, .194 BAA, 99 SO)
7/14, Taylor Jordan (0-2, 3.45 ERA, .297 BAA, 6 SO) vs. Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 5.73 ERA, .310 BAA, 7 SO)