Manager: Don Mattingly (2nd season)
Last 10 games: 7-3
Who to watch: RF Giancarlo Stanton (33 HR, 73 RBIs), LF Marcell Ozuna (.312/.371/.558), 2B Dee Gordon (.297 average, 38 SBs), C J.T. Realmuto (.311 average), RHP José Ureña (4.04 ERA)
Season series vs. Nationals: 3-3
Inside the Marlins:
With the Marlins recently trading closer AJ Ramos to the Mets, it is fair to say that they have given up on contending in 2017 and are now planning for the future. They sit 9 1/2 games behind in the wild card race and 13 games behind the Nationals in the National League East, so it’s hard to disagree with their decision that a playoff appearance most likely is not going to happen.
The Marlins offense, at least in the power department, is still led by outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton leads the NL home runs with 33 and started in the All-Star Game earlier this month. While everyone could have expected Stanton to be socking home runs left and right, there are some surprises in the Marlins offense. One of the most notable positive developments for this year is outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna is batting over .300 and is slugging over .500 for the first times in his career and joined Stanton in starting the All-Star Game in their home park. Catcher J.T. Realmuto is batting .311, the best mark of his career. The .311 average trails only Buster Posey among all NL catchers. The Marlins will be missing another person who has enjoyed a breakout season in first baseman Justin Bour. Bour and his .548 slugging percentage will be missing from Miami’s lineup due to an oblique strain. Speedster Dee Gordon is currently batting .297, which is an improvement from his 2016 that was marred with a suspension for PEDs. However, Gordon is not anywhere close to winning the batting title like he did back in 2015.
On Monday, the Marlins will start José Ureña. Urena has had a rough month of July with an ERA of 6.00. Ureña’s main problem in his July starts had been a lack of control, with 12 walks in 24 innings pitched. Tuesday will be Chris O’Grady’s turn. The 27-year-old rookie will be making his fifth career start, having posted a respectable 3.68 in his first four big league outings. He is coming off the best start of his young career, getting seven shutout innings against the Reds. To wrap up the series, Vance Worley will pitch on Wednesday. The Marlins have alternated between using Worley as a starter and reliever, giving him five starts along with eight relief appearances this year. His most recent start against the Reds on July 28 was underwhelming, lasting four innings while allowing three earned runs. Worley spent spring training with the Nationals.
With closer Ramos now in Queens, the Marlins will need to find a new closer. The most likely candidate at this point would be Jarlin García, who has 10 holds for Miami this season. He enjoys a solid but unspectacular 3.63 ERA along with 0.981 WHIP. It is worth noting that in addition to offloading Ramos, the Marlins also traded away David Phelps, one of their top setup men. So if the Nationals can get into Miami’s bullpen, they stand a better chance of mounting a comeback than they did the last time these two teams met.