Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats at Marlins (7/28-7/30)

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Jul 20, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich (21) celebrates with first base coach Perry Hill (7) after a single in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The ten game road trip did not get off to a good start for the Washington Nationals (52-45). They lost three out of four games to the Pittsburgh Pirates after sweeping Pittsburgh back in June. That being said, shortstop Ian Desmond had three home runs in the series and center fielder Michael Taylor had home runs in the final two games, including a four-hit game on Saturday in the Nats’ only win.

Despite the series loss, the Nationals are starting to get healthier. Anthony Rendon made his return to the lineup on Saturday and went 1-for-5 in two games against the Pirates. One other player will be joining Rendon for this upcoming series in Miami. Jayson Werth, who has been rehabbing at high-A Potomac and triple-A Syracuse, will be back with the team tonight, according to James Wagner of the Washington Post:

"Jayson Werth, who went 11 for 30 in nine rehab games, is rejoining Nats in Miami. He’s been out since May 15 with fractured wrist."

— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) July 27, 2015

In addition to Werth, the Nats are expected to get Ryan Zimmerman back tonight as well, according to William Ladson of MLB.com. Zimmerman has been out of the lineup since June 9 due to plantar fasciitis.

The Nats will enter this series two games up on the New York Mets in the NL East and the two teams will face each other in a three game series this weekend at Citi Field. Before that, Washington heads down to Florida to take on the Miami Marlins (41-58), a team that is figuring out which pieces they are going to sell before the July 31 Trade Deadline.

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Washington has lost four out of six games against the Marlins and they were swept by Miami at Marlins Park back in April. However, that was when Mike Redmond was manager and when Giancarlo Stanton was healthy. Stanton will not play in this series and he has been out since June 26 to a broken hamate bone in his left wrist.

Second baseman Dee Gordon has been out since July 11 with a thumb injury, but there is a chance that he can play in this series. Gordon is hitting .481 against the Nats this season with one RBI. Without Stanton and Gordon, the player who has hit the best for Miami this month in terms of run production is first baseman Justin Bour. Bour has 16 RBI’s in 20 games this month.

As for Miami’s starting pitching, Jose Fernandez is 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA since returning to the Marlins back on July 2. As for the rest of the rotation, they have starters that teams would want such as Mat Latos. Latos, who won’t pitch in this series, is 1-2 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts this month.

The Marlins started making moves last Friday when they traded former closer Steve Cishek to the St. Louis Cardinals. Even with the Cishek trade, Miami’s bullpen has a ERA of 3.25, which is fifth in the National League. A.J. Ramos, their closer, is 16-for-20 in saves with a ERA of 1.48 this season.

Let’s take a look at who has the edge in of the three pitching matchups:

Next: Tonight's Matchup