Two lower tier teams in the National League East will kick off a three-game weekend series in Miami on Friday night as the Washington Nationals battle the Miami Marlins. The Nationals are earmarked for the worst record in baseball while the Marlins are well below .500 as well for the season. The pitching matchup on Friday night will feature Josiah Gray (7-9, 5.14) of the Nationals against an as-yet-to-be-named starter for the Marlins. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40pm EST.
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Not Now for the NatsThe Nationals cut bait on this season back in August when they parted ways with superstar Juan Soto among other players. The Nationals hope the haul of prospects they received at the trade deadline will eventually turn into another team ready to make a run at a World Series title. Til that time, the Nationals are likely to be among the worst teams in baseball. The Nationals have lost seven out of ten games heading into this series but were able to finally upend the Braves, 3-2, in the final game of their series in Atlanta on Wednesday.
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The Nationals have the worst record in baseball and own the league's worst pitching ERA as well. They have allowed a league-worst 1.5 home runs per game. On Friday night, they will turn to hard-throwing righty Josiah Gray to try and slow down the Marlins. Gray is 0-1 in his last five starts with an elevated ERA of 6.66. In those five games, Gray has allowed a whopping eight home runs. Against the Marlins this season, Gray is 0-1 with a 5.64 ERA with a 10.6 K/9 rate in five games.
Marlins are SunkThe Marlins have struggled this season, particularly to score runs over the second half of the season. They had a team-record string of scoreless innings earlier this season and are 28th in the league in runs per game. All this despite having a formidable front three in their rotation of potential Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and lefty Jesus Luzardo. The Marlins are 4-6 in their last ten games and have lost each of their last two series, including two out of three to the Cubs to start the week.
Trevor Rogers' return to the rotation was short-lived after straining his lat in his last start against these same Nationals. With that in mind, the Marlins will turn to someone in a spot starter's role in this game. Braxton Garrett will likely get the call on Friday night. The 25-year-old righty is 2-6 on the season with a 3.68 ERA. He last pitched on September 12th against the Rangers, pitching 4.2 innings out of the bullpen and earning the win.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Gray has struggled in recent starts but has a high K/9 rate against the Marlins, a team struggling to put up runs. While Gray has been susceptible to the home run, the Marlins are just 24th in the league in home runs. Garrett will be pitching for the first time in ten days and should have some rust in this matchup. The Nationals have won two out of their last three games against the Marlins and held them to just over three runs per game in the process. The Nats, despite being on pace for 100 losses, are a reasonable 13-17 in their last 30 games. Look for the Nationals to pull out a win in the opener against Miami.
Take the Nats with the money line.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Marlins are the third worst run-scoring team in baseball and have struck out at a high rate against Gray this season. The Nats took two of three over the Marlins last week with two of the three-game going to the under. Washington is 3-6-1 to the under in their last ten games while the Marlins are averaging just 3.5 runs per game at home this season.
Take the under.