Manager: Mike Redmond, second year
Last 10 games: 5-2
Who to watch: RF Giancarlo Stanton (.345/.406/.655, 2 HR, 7 R, 12 RBIs); 3B Casey McGehee (.375/.467/.625, 5 XBH, 10 RBIs); SS Adeiny Hechavarria (.393/.379/.464, 3 RBIs, 6 R); RHP Tom Koehler (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
Season series vs. Nats (2013): 5-14, 52 runs scored, 86 runs allowed
The Marlins get their first shot at the Nationals at just the right time. Miami comes to D.C. off to its best start since opening 11-1 in 2009, winning home series against the Padres and Rockies to open 2014.
It isn’t just one player or one aspect of the club that has contributed to the early success. The Marlins entered Monday leading the majors with 42 runs scored - although they have played seven games - and ranked second with a .294 team batting average. They also ranked fifth in the big leagues with a 2.43 team ERA. The Miami bullpen has allowed just one earned run in 22 1/3 innings so far for a MLB-best 0.40 ERA.
The offense is being led by outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who has been seemingly unstoppable so far with a 1.061 OPS, two homers, three doubles, 12 RBIs and seven runs scored. Infielder Casey McGehee has also been a pleasant surprise after being inked to one-year, $1.1 million deal this offseason. The 31-year-old has posted a 1.092 OPS to go with five extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in seven games.
The Marlins rotation doesn’t line up perfectly for the playoff-contending Nationals, as Miami’s top two starters - Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi - aren’t expected to pitch in the series. But Tom Koehler will be looking to build on his quality start in his season debut while Jacob Turner and Henderson Alvarez aim to bounce back from rough first starts.
But seeing the majors’ hottest offense go up against the likes of Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann should be an exciting matchup to watch.