Manager: Mike Redmond, second year
Last 10 games: 5-5
Who to watch: RF Giancarlo Stanton (.307/.398/.599, 14 HR, 12 doubles, 47 RBIs); 1B Garrett Jones (.274/.343/.497, 8 HR, 13 doubles, 25 RBIs); CF Marcell Ozuna (.261/.307/.443, 9 HR, 31 RBIs); RHP Tom Koehler (4-4, 3.10 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)
Season series vs. Nats: 1-5, 24 runs scored, 39 runs against
Not even the Marlins likely expected to sit where they do right now - in second place in the National League East with the Nationals looking up at them on Memorial Day.
But that is the case, as Miami enters a three-game series in Washington a half-game ahead of the Nats and three games behind the Braves for first place in the division.
Much of that credit can go to one of the NL’s most productive and well-rounded offenses. Behind an MVP caliber start from outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins rank second in the NL with 235 runs, a .262 average and a .330 on-base percentage, as well as third with 54 homers.
Stanton has been tremendous, pacing the NL with 47 RBIs and tying for the homers lead with 14. His .997 OPS ranks third in the NL. Plus, he has a solid supporting cast of center fielder Marcell Ozuna, first baseman Garrett Jones and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who have hit nine, eight and six homers, respectively.
Ozuna has also driven in 31 runs while Jones has an .841 OPS.
Miami comes to D.C. with its offense slipping the last two games following two weeks of strong play. The Marlins plated at least four runs in 10 of 12 games before being held to three combined over the last two contests. But they did go 5-7 during that time because of a pitching staff that has allowed fewer than four runs just four times in the last 16 games.
Against the Nats, the Marlins do pitch their top three remaining starters from a rotation that will be missing ace Jose Fernandez for the rest of the season. The Nats will need to contend with Miami’s three healthy starters with ERA under 4.00 - right-handers Tom Koehler (3.10 ERA), Henderson Alvarez (3.21 ERA) and Nathan Eovaldi (3.41 ERA). Koehler faces Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann on Wednesday in the most intriguing pitching matchup of the series while Eovaldi takes on Tanner Roark and Alvarez goes up against rookie Blake Treinen.
Despite the performances of those three, the Marlins rank 11th in the NL with a 3.82 ERA with the rotation standing ninth at 3.78.
Although Miami has exceeded expectations thus far by entering the series above .500 - and hasn’t had a losing record since April 30 - it has had a horrible time away from home and against the Nats.
The Marlins own baseball’s worst road record at 6-17, but have won three of their last five away games. Against the Nats, Miami has lost five of six this year and has dropped 12 of 13 in Washington since the start of last season.
So the trends are clearly in Washington’s favor, but you never know how things will go with the Marlins tossing three quality starters and fielding one of the NL’s most feared lineups led by the powerful Stanton.