The Miami Marlins will conclude their final road trip of the season with four games in the nation’s capital against a Washington Nationals team desperate to stay in the thick of the National League playoff race. The Marlins are just 2-5 thus far on the trip after avoiding being swept in Philadelphia with an extra innings win on Wednesday night.
The Marlins rallied to win on Wednesday thanks to a two-run blast from Giancarlo Stanton, a solo homer from Ed Lucas in extra innings and the 26th consecutive save converted by closer Steve Cishek. Despite Wednesday’s victory, Miami heads into their final road series of the season with a National League worst record of 56-96.
Washington is 13-4 so far in the month of September and 21-8 since August 18th. The Nationals most recently took two of three from the first place Atlanta Braves with both wins coming in a doubleheader on Tuesday that was played due to a horrific shooting at a nearby D.C. Navy Yard.
Washington comes into the series with an 81-71 record and, 5.5 games back of the Cincinnati Reds for the final wild card spot in the National League with only 10 games to play. The Nationals will desperately need to sweep Miami if they have any hope of reaching postseason for a second straight year.
The pitching match-ups appear favorable for Washington as Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and the National League leader in wins, Jordan Zimmermann, will all be on the mound for the Nationals in the series. The offense has come to life lately for Washington as well with Ian Desmond having a big year for the club as has Jayson Werth, who is fifth in the N.L. with a .323 batting average.
31-year-old rookie and utility man Ed Lucas has been hot for Miami. Lucas not only hit the game-winning home run in extra innings on Wednesday, but has four straight multi-hit games. Lucas is eight for his last 19 at the plate and has raised his average 13 points to .250 during that span.
Giancarlo Stanton has also homered in four straight series for the Marlins and leads the team with 23 home runs on the season. Stanton is tied with Werth for ninth in the National League when it comes to long balls. Stanton has hit four of his 23 homers this season against the Nationals, more than against any other team this year. Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is seventh in the N.L. with 25 home runs.
Miami and Washington will cap their season series against one another with four games beginning on Thursday. The first three games of the series will begin at 7:05 P.M. eastern time while the finale on Sunday will get underway at 1:35 P.M. Sunday’s contest will mark the final road game of the season for Miami.
Washington leads 11-4. The Nationals have dominated the season series with Miami particularly at home. At Nationals Park this season, Washington is a perfect 6-0 against the Marlins. Washington opened the 2013 season by shutting out Miami twice. The Nationals have pitched three shutouts at home against Miami while holding the Marlins to a single run or fewer in five of the six meetings.
Thursday – Henderson Alvarez (MIA) 4-4, 3.97 ERA vs. Gio Gonzalez (WAS) 10-7, 3.40 ERA
Friday – Jacob Turner (MIA) 3-7, 3.51 ERA vs. Jordan Zimmermann (WAS) 18-8, 3.33 ERA
Saturday – Tom Koehler (MIA) 3-10, 4.51 ERA vs. Stephen Strasburg (WAS) 7-9, 2.96 ERA
Sunday – Brian Flynn (MIA) 0-2, 9.64 ERA vs. Dan Haren (WAS) 9-13, 4.88 ERA