Opposite Dugout: Marlins travel to nation's capital for four-game series against struggling Nationals
Manager: Don Mattingly (3rd season)
Last 10 games: 5-5
Who to watch: C J.T. Realmuto (.306), 1B Justin Bour (13 HR, 37 RBIs), RF Brian Anderson (41 RBIs), 2B Starlin Castro (.292, .340, .397) RHP Kyle Barraclough (8 saves, 1.17 ERA)
Season series vs. Nationals: 0-3
July 5: RHP Pablo LÃ³pez (1-0) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-1), 7:05 p.m., MASN
July 6: RHP Dan Straily (3-4) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-5), 7:05 p.m., MASN
July 7: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-5) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (10-5), 7:15 p.m., FOX
July 8: RHP Trevor Richards (2-5) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (3-10), 1:35 p.m., MASN
Inside the Marlins:
Following up a 16-inning loss eight hours after it ends with the series finale is never easy, but a much needed win to close out a 10-game homestand made it all worthwhile for the Marlins. For some strange reason, the schedule-maker decided that the Marlins' first trip to D.C. wouldn't come until early July (the teams met in Miami in late May). That means a lot of games between the Nats and Fish over the season's final three months. If the Nationals can replicate their 13-6 record against the Marlins from last season, maybe they can turn around their frustrating season and challenge for the lead in the National League East.
Shortstop JT Riddle's exceptional performance against the Rays on Independence Day helped the Marlins forget Tuesday's 16-inning defeat in a solid bounceback performance. Riddle came up just short of a cycle after a first-inning single, sixth-inning triple and an eighth-inning homer that propelled Miami to victory. Catcher J.T. Realmuto has begun to put the majors on notice, cracking the top five in All-Star voting among NL catchers and leading Marlins regulars with a .306 average. Second baseman Starlin Castro went 4-for-4 with a run scored in Monday's extra-inning win over the Rays. Right fielder Brian Anderson has 27 multi-hit games, leading the team and major league rookies. Third baseman Martin Prado (hamstring) and outfielder Garrett Cooper (wrist) could be activated off the disabled list this weekend.
Righty Pablo LÃ³pez got the victory in his major league debut against the Mets on Saturday, allowing just two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five. He had gone 2-3 with a 1.44 ERA in 12 starts between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans before being called up. Right-hander Dan Straily, in his first start since being suspended five games for hitting Giants catcher Buster Posey with a pitch, finished with a line of seven innings, five hits and seven strikeouts on July 1. He's worked at least six innings in each of his last two starts after failing to reach that benchmark in the previous five. Veteran lefty Wei-Yin Chen allowed one unearned run on three hits in his no-decision Monday versus the Rays with five strikeouts and no walks. He tamed the Nationals on a run and three hits in 7 1/3 innings in a May 26 no-decision against the Nats. Right-hander Trevor Richards allowed four runs on nine hits with no walks in a no-decision Tuesday against the Rays, striking out five. He's s reverse-splits guy, with right-handers bashing him at a .339/.405/.550 clip and left-handed batters hitting just .221/.309/.316.