Apr 21, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Miami Marlins right fielderGiancarlo Stanton
(27) rounds third after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Nationals (7-9) will begin a three game series against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park tonight. The Marlins have had a slow start to the season and sit at the bottom of the National League East with a 5-11 record. There are reports that Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins owner, is already meddling in team management (which never works out well for the team). Loria is reportedly upset about the team’s slow start and may be looking to replace manager Mike Redmond.
The Marlins have not been winning games and there may be tension between Redmond and Loria, but there is no reason for the Nationals to look past this series. The Marlins improved their team in the off season, and will get out of the NL East cellar before long, thus allowing the Philadelphia Phillies to take their rightful place in the basement of the division.
The Marlins have some dangerous hitters who have a history of burning the Nationals in the past.
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The premier hitter of the Marlins club is Giancarlo Stanton. He is only hitting .241 at the moment, but gets walked frequently because of his power. His on base percentage is .362 and slugging percentage is .517. Stanton has a .317 batting average against the Nats in his career to go with 22 home runs and 53 RBI’s. In other words, he has always been a problem for Nationals pitchers.
The Marlins signed former National Michael Morse in the off season and are batting him right behind Stanton in the order to give Stanton protection. Morse is hitting .233 with an on base percentage of .313 and slugging percentage of .367. Stanton has four home runs so far this year, and Morse has hit two.
These power guys haven’t yet heated up for the Marlins, but they are the types of hitters who can heat up in a series or hit a home run whenever they come to the plate. If they get hot during this series, it will be a grim start to the road trip for the Nationals.
Christian Yelich has been another Marlins hitter who has been a tough out for Nationals pitchers, but he has been dealing with a back injury and has been in and out of the lineup. At this point, it is unknown whether he will be able to play during the series with the Nationals.
Other Marlins hitters have been picking up the slack left by the absence of Yelich. J.T. Realmuto, the catcher, has been on fire to start the season, batting .304. Marcell Ozuna and Adeiny Hechavarria are both hitting for average. The current line up, even missing Yelich, doesn’t have any easy outs.
The Marlins bench hasn’t been hitting particularly well, and has been a problem for Redmond in the late innings when having to go to a pinch hitter.
The Marlins real problem so far this year has been their pitching. Let’s look at the pitching match ups for the series to see which team may have the advantage.
Next: Zimmermann vs. Latos