Friday evening on the MLB diamond and a pair of teams from the National League East will square off as the Miami Marlins tangle with the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. This is game one of a four-game series between these division rivals. The Marlins lead the season series 2-1.
Pitching Matchup: The Marlins will trot out Pablo Lopez (3-5, 5.06 ERA) and the Nationals will counter with Kyle McGowin (0-0, 6.00 ERA).
Break Up The Marlins
I can’t believe I’m typing these words but the Miami Marlins have won their last six games in a row. That is not a typo my friends. I may have to recant some of what I have been saying about the Marlins this year because I have been very harsh on them. The Marlins swept the Mets at home and then followed that up with a three-game road sweep of the Detroit Tigers. The offense has remained the worst in the league, but the Pitching is starting to produce for the Fish as they have allowed a total of nine runs in their last five games and just 2.67 rpg over their last nine games. The Marlins could be a team to watch in the 2nd half, especially if they find a bit more offense. They will not make a run at a playoff spot, but they still could be a pesky team in the 2nd half of the year.
Miami still has the worst record in the National League, but they are only 1.5 games behind the floundering Washington Nationals, who have the 2nd worst record in the National League. That would be a story in itself if the Marlins were able to catch the Nats and finish ahead of them this year. There is a lot of baseball yet to be played so we shall see. The Marlins won the finale against Detroit by a score of 5-2 and getting the start was Trevor Richards, who allowed just one ER on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work, but took a no-decision. Tyler Kinley (1-0, 5.75 ERA) grabbed the win, while Sergio Romo picked up his 9th save. The Fish were down 2-0 heading to the 9th when they scored five runs, which included a two-out grand slam by Garrett Cooper. It was his 2nd homer of the year.
Down with 2 outs in the 9th …
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) May 23, 2019
Getting the nod for the Fish will be Pablo Lopez and he has gone 3-5 with a 5.06 ERA in nine starts on the year, including 1-4 with an 8.03 ERA in five starts on the road. In his career, he has gone 2-5 with a 6.51 ERA in nine starts on the road and 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in three starts in May. Lopez is 0-1 with a 7.59 ERA in two carer starts against the Nationals. Both appearances were last year and both came at Marlins Park.
Miami has been poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 30th in the league in scoring, putting up 2.85 rpg, while also ranking 26th in hitting at .221 and 30th in homers with 32. On the mound, they have been below average as they rank 17th in the league in ERA at 4.36, while also ranking 19th in WHIP at 1.34 and 20th in K’s with 418. Their pen ranks 26th in ERA at 4.98.
Tha Nats Are In Trouble
The Washington Nationals were picked by many to win the National League East, but they enter this game having lost their last five games in a row to fall to 19-31 on the year, which is the 2nd worst record in the National League and the 4th worst in the entire league. The Nats are a team in trouble. They have dealt with plenty of injuries to their offense this year, but they are nearly fully healthy now. Still, Washington has averaged just 3.60 rpg over their last five games. I wrote about the real issue for Washington a few days ago and that was about their bullpen, which comes in with the worst ERA in the league at 7.02. The next closest is Baltimore at 6.04. The Washington pen is historically bad at the moment and it just blew three saves in a row in the final three games of their series against the Mets.
On Thursday afternoon, the Nats had a 4-3 lead heading to the bottom of the 8th, but the Mets tagged Wander Suero (1-4, 7.17 ERA) for three runs in that inning to go ahead for good. He ruined a solid start for Stephen Strasburg, who allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks with five Ks in 7.0 innings of work. Washington has now blown 10 saves in 18 chances and until they figure out their pen, then they will continue to struggle. The Nats pounded out 13 hits in the game, but they also had 11 strikeouts and grounded into a couple of double plays. Juan Soto had three hits, while Gerardo Parra drove in two runs.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 23, 2019
Toeing the slab for the Nationals will be Kyle McGowin and he has pitched just three innings out of the pen the year so far. McGowin has allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk in those innings. In his career, he has made just one start, which was last year against the Miami Marlins. He allowed no runs and just one hit and three walks while striking out four in 4.0 innings of work to take a no-decision in a 9-3 Washington win. McGowin is getting the start in place of Jeremy Hellickson, who is out until mid-June.
The Nationals have been below average on offense so far as they come in ranked 20th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.38 rpg, while also ranking 21st in hitting at .243 and 16th in homers with 63. On the mound, they have been rather poor as they rank 23rd in the league in ERA at 4.94, while also ranking 23rd in WHIP at 1.38 and 2nd in K’s with 484.
- 14-38 in their last 52 road games vs. a right-handed starter
- 3-14 in Lopez’s last 17 starts on grass
- 1-9 in Lopez’s last 10 starts vs. National League East
- 5-1 in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
- 42-16 their last 58 home games in this series