The Washington Nationals (4-2) are preparing to face the Miami Marlins (5-2) from an unfamiliar position: below them in the standings.
The Marlins, who managed to lose 100 games last season and finish with the worst record in the National League, are sitting atop the NL-East looking down on the Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, who are tied for second.
Granted, Miami started its season against the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres, who respectively finished in last and third place in the NL-West last year. But as of now, the Marlins have the second-highest team batting average (.294), third-highest on base percentage (.353) and fifth-highest slugging percentage (.433) in all of baseball.
Though the season is still very young and the stats don’t yet mean much, the Marlins team slash line is still higher than the Nationals’ (.252/.319/.422), who started the year with a sweep of the last-place New York Mets.
The Nationals will play the Marlins six times in the next nine days. After coming off a tough series loss to the Braves, these next two series against the Marlins could be what the Nationals need to assert their dominance on the division.
Stanton’s Strong Start
Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton has been a marquee Marlin for his duration with the team, but he drew extra attention to himself this week when he hit a 484-foot home run out of Marlins Park. The home run eclipsed the record for longest homer at the three-year-old park, and created a buzz throughout Major League Baseball.
Stanton has the second-most RBIs (12) in the majors, and is likely to make more of an impact on the league this year with the improvement of the hitters providing protection for him in the lineup, including Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee, who has 10 RBIs of his own, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
“This might sound a little odd, but he hasn’t even scratched the surface of how good he can be,” Marlins utility infielder Jeff Baker said, according to MLB.com. “With more at-bats and playing in more big league games, the sky is the limit for the guy. I’m not just saying that because I’m his teammate.”
Stanton has a .314/.408/.702 career slash line against the Nationals, and based on his start he could be an even bigger threat in 2014.
In The Zone
Anthony Rendon (RF) .391 AVG, .391 OBP, .609 SLG, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 23 AB
Casey McGehee (3B) .375 AVG, .467 OBP, .625 SLG, 10 RBI, 4 2B, 24 AB
Giancarlo Stanton (RF) .345 AVG, .406 OBP, .655 SLG, 12 RBI, 2 HR, 29 AB
Christian Yelich (LF) .222 AVG, .250 OBP, .333 SLG, 6 SO, 1 BB, 27 AB
Garrett Jones (1B) .192 AVG, .300 OBP, .231 ALG, 9 SO, 4 BB, 26 AB
4/8, Gio Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Henderson Alvarez (0-1)
4/9, Tanner Roark (1-0) vs. Jacob Turner (0-0)
4/10, Jordan Zimmermann (0-0) vs. Tom Koehler (1-0)