MIAMI - Just because the Marlins don’t have Giancarlo Stanton, J.T. Realmuto or Christian Yelich any more doesn’t mean they still can’t play some baseball and make an impact in the National League. The thought that the rest of the NL East is a dogfight and the Marlins are cupcakes may not quite be true, even with their brutal start.
Right-hander Aníbal Sánchez, who took the loss Friday night to fall to 0-2, remembers playing for the Florida Marlins from 2006-2011 and says the club takes pride in playing hard despite its apparent lack of front-line talent. Sánchez said you can’t expect to come in here and have an easy time of it.
“The division is pretty tough,” Sánchez said. “It is. It’s no doubt how good the division is. It’s not because the Marlins right now are in the last position they don’t play hard. They really, really good. I remember when I was here (it was) the same situation. This team comes out to play hard. They want to win games too. We don’t go outside and think (the win) just comes to us. It’s one of the hardest teams for me to face most of the time in the league. This team, the Marlins, they got great hitters too.”
Left fielder Juan Soto continues to make solid contact, even if pitchers are offering him fewer opportunities at fastballs. Soto has at least a base hit in 11 of his last 14 games with four doubles, three homers, 12 walks, 10 runs and 12 RBIs. He has crossed the plate in eight of 14 games this season.
Right-hander Max Scherzer (1-2, 3.33 ERA) has allowed just one earned run in his last three starts versus the Marlins, a span of 21 innings for a 0.43 ERA. The Nats are 7-0 when Scherzer faces the Marlins since Aug. 7, 2017.
The Marlins counter with right-hander José Ureña (0-3, 6.53). He has won two in a row against the Nats, going 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and 16 strikeouts in three starts last season. On July 29, 2018, Ureña fired six shutout innings, allowing only one hit against Washington in a 5-0 win. Then on Aug.19, 2018, Ureña pitched a complete game two-hitter against the Nats for a 12-1 victory. He surrendered only one run in seven innings against the Phillies last Sunday.
What to watch for:
1. Anthony Rendon needs a base hit to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games. He has at least one extra-base hit in 13 of 18 games this season.
2. Ryan Zimmerman needs three RBIs to reach 1,000 for his career.
3. With a win, the Nats would be 14-7 against the Marlins since the start of the 2018 campaign.
4. With a win, the Nats move back above .500 with a 10-9 record.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Marlins Park
Gametime: 6:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN 2, MLB.tv
Radio: 99.1 FM, MLB.com, Sirius XM 186 (Nats version XM Streaming 869)
Weather: Indoors, 77 degrees
RF Adam Eaton
3B Anthony Rendon
LF Juan Soto
1B Matt Adams
2B Brian Dozier
C Yan Gomes
SS Wilmer Difo
RHP Max Scherzer
CF Victor Robles
LF Curtis Granderson
3B Martín Prado
RF Brian Anderson
1B Neil Walker
2B Starlin Castro
C Jorge Alfaro
SS Miguel Rojas
CF Isaac Galloway
RHP José Ureña