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

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Jul 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Fister (3-6, 4.50) vs. Tom Koehler (8-6, 3.16) – 7:10 PM ET, MASN2

Coming into this game tomorrow night, Fister is going to be looking to get his season back on track. In his last start against the Pirates, Fister went five innings, gave up four runs on nine hits, struck out six, and walked one.

The 31-year-old left-hander has gone 0-3 in his last four starts and has given up four runs or more in four of his last six outings. His velocity has been better, but opponents have been hitting the ball hard (.307 batting average against) and racking up the extra-base hits.

Even though Fister has been struggling, he has a good record lifetime against the Marlins. He is 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four games (three starts). Ichiro Suzuki is 2-for-7 against him with a double and a RBI.

When you look at Tom Koehler’s numbers, he has been the exact opposite of Fister. The 29-year-old right-hander has given up two runs or fewer in eight of his last ten outings. In his last start against the Padres, he went seven innings, gave up no runs on three hits, struck out seven batters, and walked four in the victory.

While Koehler has kept the opponents off the board, he has walked 39 batters in 19 games this season. That being said, he has been a good pitcher at home this season (4-1, 1.68 ERA in eight games). One of those wins came against the Nats on April 25, when he gave up no runs on six hits in 7.1 innings.

His other start against the Nationals came on May 6 at Nats Park. In that game, Koehler gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings of work, and gave up all three home runs to Bryce Harper. He is 3-4 with a 3.83 ERA in seven career starts against Washington. Harper is 5-for-18 against him with four home runs and six RBI’s.

Advantage: I expect that this game is going to be the highest scoring game out of the three. Koehler has pitched well at home this season, but this could be the game Harper breaks out when you consider that he has not hit a home run in his last nine games coming into tonight’s game. If Harper can hit one or two home runs in this one, I like the Nats to win a 7-5 kind of game.

Next: Thursday's Matchup