Last year, Stephen Strasburg faced the Florida Marlins twice in his 12 starts. He didn't face any other team more than once.
(Clearly, he's becoming accustomed early in his career to the Nationals' routine schedule, which has them playing the Marlins approximately 47 times each season. Wait - it's only 18 times, you say? Well, we must just enjoy watching those two teams more than any other. Or something like that.)
At any rate, Strasburg will face the Marlins for the third time in his career tonight, but he'll largely be going up against a Florida lineup that didn't see him last year.
Only three hitters on the Marlins' roster - Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez and Mike Stanton - saw Strasburg last year, and only Sanchez started in both of Strasburg's outings against Florida in 2011. So when Strasburg takes the mound for his third start back from Tommy John surgery tonight, he won't have much history against the hitters starting for a team he's faced more than any other.
Generally, that kind of a matchup favors the pitcher, especially one whose stuff is as hard to handle as Strasburg's. The Marlins' lineup should be aggressive, so if Strasburg can get back to spotting has fastball effectively, like he did in his first start, he should be able to stretch into the middle innings on a tight pitch count.
First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Before that, I'll be traipsing about Washington on another one of my offbeat road races. This one is called the CitySolve Urban Race - essentially, teams of two take off on a scavenger hunt around Washington, able to use nothing other than running or public transportation to get around. I'm teaming up with AP sportswriter Joseph White, who's one of the more interesting and eclectic guys you'll find in the ranks of Washington scribes, and we'll be racing around the District trying to find clues early this afternoon. They allow iPhones, so I may be tweeting for assistance a few times.