#902 Miami Marlinsvs.#901 Washington Nationals
Written by Chris Kubala
Washington Nationals (42-27 SU, 35-34 RL, 35-31-3 O/U) vs. Miami Marlins (30-37 SU, 32-35 RL, 38-25-4 O/U)
MLB: Monday, June 19, 2017, Marlins Park, Miami, Florida, 7:10 pm ET
Lines: Washington -125, Miami +115; Over/Under: 9.5
It’s the start of a series between a pair of NL East rivals down in South Beach. The division leading Washington Nationals open a three game series against the Miami Marlins Monday night. Washington missed a chance at a four game sweep of the Mets as they fell 5-1 in the finale on the road Sunday afternoon. Miami dropped the rubber game of their weekend road set with the Braves, losing in walk-off fashion for the second straight day, 5-4, Sunday. The Nationals took two of three the first time the teams met this season, which came in Washington April 3-6.
Washington won the first three games of the set with the Mets at Citi Field but saw their bats silenced in the finale. The Nationals mustered just four hits in the game, with their lone extra base hit coming in the ninth inning on a Daniel Murphy double. Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Stephen Drew each had a single but after scoring in the first inning, the Nationals were shut out the rest of the way. Turner did steal four bases in the contest. Joe Ross (3-3) took the loss on the mound: he allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits with one walk and four strikeouts over six innings.
Tanner Roark, another Nationals starter throwing a ton of pitches this season, makes his 15th start of the year. He is 6-4 with a 4.39 ERA, a 1.357 WHIP, 27 walks and 69 strikeouts over 84 innings of work. Roark was roughed up and took the loss his last time out, which came Friday at home against Atlanta. He allowed seven runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts over five innings in a 13-2 Nationals defeat. Roark is 1-2 with a 6.27 ERA, a 1.61 WHIP, five walks and 13 strikeouts over 18.2 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 20th career appearance and 14th start against the Marlins in this contest. Roark is 5-8 with one save, a 3.76 ERA and a 1.291 WHIP over 83.2 innings of work in those contests. He is 3-4 with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.152 WHIP over 46 innings in nine career appearances, seven starts, at Marlins Park.
Miami took the opening game of their series with the Braves but dropped both Saturday and Sunday’s games in walk-off fashion to lose the set. The Marlins rallied from a 4-2 deficit to tie the score with a pair in the eighth but gave up the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Justin Bour (two RBI), Christian Yelich (two runs), Dee Gordon (run) and Derek Dietrich each had two hits in the loss. Marcell Ozuna hit his 18th homer of the year in the defeat. Jose Urena recorded a no-decision despite throwing six innings and allowing two runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Drew Steckenrider (0-1) took the loss after allowing a run on three hits in one-third of an inning.
Justin Nicolino makes his fourth start of the season for the Marlins in this contest. He comes in 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA, a 1.462 WHIP, six walks and nine strikeouts over 13 innings of work. Nicolino recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came at home against the Phillies on May 30. He threw three innings, allowing no runs or hits with no walks and one strikeout in a 7-2 Marlins win. Nicolino has been on the DL with a contusion on his left index finger but is expected to be activated for this contest. This marks Nicolino’s fifth career appearance and fourth start against the Nationals: he is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP over 16.2 innings of work. He has a 2-6 record with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.326 WHIP over 80.2 innings in 16 appearances, 14 starts, at Marlins Park in his career.
Washington was 6-0 at Citi Field this season before getting shut down in the finale Sunday. The Nationals still have a comfortable lead in the NL East however, which gives them plenty of wiggle room. Washington needs it given the maddening inconsistency of their bullpen. Miami had been playing well before getting tripped up with back to back walk-off defeats. The Marlins have some pop in their lineup but Nicolino has to prove he’s healthy and can go deep in a game. Even with his recent struggles, Roark gives the Nationals the edge in this one.
Washington was fortunate to have hefty leads in the first three games of the series against the Mets, which made their terrible bullpen a non-factor. The Nationals got nothing from the bats in Sunday’s finale but they have a deep lineup that can do damage. Nicolino is likely to be limited coming off an injury: given his inability to go deep in games when he was healthy, a pitch count will make it a likely long day for the bullpen. Given Miami’s issues at times with their bullpen, you have to think that the odds against the Marlins, even playing at home, are long.
The under is 5-0-1 in the Marlins last 6 during game 1 of a series and 5-2 in their last seven on Monday. The teams have stayed under the total in 19 of the last 26 meetings in Miami and the under is 14-6-1 in the last 21 meetings overall. Even with pitching being questionable on both sides, this one stays under a rather high total.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.