The bottom two teams in the NL East will end a three-game series on Sunday when the Miami Marlins (62-89) host the Washington Nationals (52-98). The Marlins won the opening game of the series 5-2 on Friday, and Saturday's game was not complete at the time of this preview. Miami has dominated this series, winning 14 of the 17 head-to-head games meeting this year.
100 losses are comingThe Nationals look like a team that's ready for the offseason and not well equipped to compete as they are in the early stages of reconstruction. Following Friday's loss, the Nationals are just 3-9 in their last 12 games and have failed to score more than three runs in any of their last five games. With Nelson Cruz currently out of the lineup since Sept. 13 dealing with an eye injury, only two Nationals players expected to play Sunday have double-digit homers (Lane Thomas 17 HR in 134 games and Joey Meneses 10 HR in 44 games).
The Nationals' pitching staff will need to get younger in 2023, but as for now the 38-year-old Anibal Sanchez is listed to start on Sunday. In 12 starts this season, Sanchez is 2-6 with a 4.40 ERA. As a unit, the Nationals pitching 29th with a 4.99 ERA and dead last with only 29 quality starts.
If only they could play Washington everydaySince becoming an expansion team in 1993, the Marlins have only had seven winning seasons and three playoff appearances. Ironically, the Marlins have two World Series titles (1997 & 2003) to their credit. 2022 has been another year full of losing, but when the Marlins have faced the Nationals. On Friday, the Marlins went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position but still managed to muster five runs and get the win. Three of the five runs were scored without a base hit, as runs came across on a hit by pitch, double play, and a sacrifice fly.
fun to be a fish pic.twitter.com/EsaRvSZjmq— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 24, 2022
The Marlins are 27th on the season scoring 3.6 runs per game and 24th with 134 home runs. Stealing bases has been a strength of Miami, ranking second with 117 stolen bases.
The Marlins will be sending one of the most exciting young pitchers in the game to the mound on Sunday in Edward Cabrera (6-3, 2.91 ERA). Cabrera went on a run of four consecutive scoreless starts from August 5 to August 22. He has run into some tougher times in his last five outings posting a 5.06 ERA in his last five outings, but allowing six runs against the Dodgers on August 28 has a lot to do with it.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Marlins have owned the Nationals this season winning six out of the seven games played in Miami this, with five of those home wins coming by at least three runs or more. Miami also has the advantage on the mound with Carbera having a higher ceiling and less potential to get rocked as opposed to Sanchez. The Marlins' offense has struggled this year, but they are averaging 4.1 runs over their last 10 home games. The Nationals have been held to two runs or less in four of their last five games, and wouldn't be able to keep this game close enough to cover the runline. With the season almost over, there is no need to bet against Miami's season-long dominance over Washington now.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams combined to go 3 for 22 with runners in scoring position on Friday, and when you look at each of these lineups, that's no surprise. Due to trades and injuries, both lineups are a skeleton of what they looked like at full strength to begin the season, and even then they weren't that great. Both teams are in the bottom 8 of MLB regarding runs scored and home runs and the over is just 2-4-2 in the last eight meetings. I don't see Washington scoring more than two runs based off the matchup against Cabrera, and you can't trust Miami to get to six runs alone in this game. Take the under, as I predict a 4- Marlins W.