#951 Miami Marlinsvs.#952 Washington Nationals
Written by Matt Severance
When/Where: Saturday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
Moneylines: Washington -165/Miami +155
In all honesty, Saturday’s game in Washington, D.C., means pretty much nothing between the Nationals and Marlins. Washington probably will rest some guys as it has locked up its playoff seeding. The Marlins are simply playing out the string.
I hate to be crass, but this site is about betting and I would bet against the Marlins in every game this weekend. Of course the team’s ace pitcher, Jose Fernandez, was tragically killed in a boating accident off Miami Beach early last Sunday. The devastated Marlins played admirably in their first game following that accident on Monday in beating the Mets. But the team has pretty much been going through the motions since and probably has nothing left emotionally in the tank. There was some positive news for the team this week in that it signed third baseman Martin Prado to a three-year extension. He would have gotten plenty of offers on the free-agent market.
Here, the Marlins go with lefty Wei-Yin Chen (5-4, 5.02, the team ‘s big offseason free-agent acquisition who has been a major disappointment. He has to be the team’s ace now going forward and he’s not one. Chen lasted just four innings last time out vs. Atlanta, giving up two runs and four hits. It was only his second start back from a long DL stint and he was on a pitch count. Chen surely will be here as well. Chen is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts this year vs. Washington. Bryce Harper is 4-for-15 with two doubles and three RBIs against him. Ryan Zimmerman is 5-for-14 with two doubles. Danny Espinosa is 3-for-15 with a homer.
Washington got crushing news on Tuesday when it was learned the All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos had a torn ACL, suffered on Monday night when he landed awkwardly while jumping to catch a ball thrown from the outfield. That’s a really big loss as he was second on the team in wins above replacement among position players as Ramos had hit .307 with 25 doubles, 22 homers and 80 RBIs. Ramos had logged 1,096 1/3 innings behind the plate with the second-best pitching staff (by ERA) in the National League. He likely will be mostly replaced by veteran Jose Lobaton, who is good defensive guy but can’t hit a lick. You might not see Nationals leading hitter Daniel Murphy in this game as the second baseman has been dealing with a glute injury for a few weeks and there’s really no reason to play him until the NLDS against the Dodgers. Harper also is in question this weekend with a thumb injury.
The Nationals are expected to go with Tanner Roark here, who would also be lined up to start Game 2 of the NLDS. Roark (15-10, 2.86) struggled his last start, allowing five runs (two homers) in four innings of a loss to Arizona. He is 1-4 with a 5.02 ERA in five starts vs. Miami this year. Prado is 10-for-23 career off him with a homer and five RBIs. Giancarlo Stanton is 6-for-25 with three homers.
Tough one to call here with two teams really going through the motions and the Nationals likely sitting two of their best players at least. But I’ll stick with the better pitcher. Roark is 8-6 with a 2.78 ERA at home and will end his jinx this season against the Marlins. Miami is 2-5 in its past seven vs. right-handers.
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Matt has been a sports journalist for nearly two decades. He is a former sports editor/writer at two newspapers and a magazine. Went full-time freelance sports writer in 2008 -- not by choice then but became a life-changing decision in the best possible way. Consider myself expert on all major US sports. If you are looking for Curling or Badminton expertise, etc., I'm not your guy.