Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Marlins (9/17-9/20)

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jarred Cosart (1-4, 4.58 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (4-5, 4.38) – 7:05 PM ET, broadcast on MASN

Cosart’s last start came against the Nationals on September 11. In that game, he went five innings, gave up no runs on four hits, struck out five batters, and walked three in a no-decision. Miami would go on to get the win 2-1 and it was due in part to the Nats going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and leaving nine on base.

When you look at Cosart’s start more closely, only 55 of his 90 pitches went for strikes and he threw 12 first pitch strikes to the 21 batters he faced. The one thing the Nats can look forward to in this game is Cosart is likely not to last very long in this one. The last time Cosart went more than five innings in a game was on April 27 against the Mets. Against the Nats, the 25-year-old right-hander is 0-2 in four starts with a 2.82 ERA. Jayson Werth is 5-for-8 against him with a home run and a RBI.

As for Tanner Roark, his last outing against the Marlins occurred on September 12 when he went up against Jose Fernandez. It’s tough to beat Fernandez, especially at Marlins Park, but Roark held his own. He went 4.2 innings, gave up two runs on eight hits, struck out two batters, and walked one in a no-decision.

The one problem for Roark in these games is that he can’t get out of the fifth inning and has not even thrown 70 pitches in his two starts since entering the rotation. He did induce nine groundball outs in his last start, but he only threw eight first pitch strikes the entire night. Even though Giancarlo Stanton is not in this lineup, throwing that first pitch for a strike has to be a priority for Roark in this start.

In his career against Miami, Roark is 2-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 games (five starts). Casey McGehee (.183, 0 HR, 7 RBI’s) is 4-for-10 against him with two doubles and a RBI.

Advantage: This game is going to come down to which pitcher will be able to locate his fastball and throw it for strikes on a consistent basis. Even if Roark struggles, I would like to see Matt Williams let him get out of trouble in the middle innings. With that being said, it’s tough to trust Roark as a starter this year, so I will give the edge to Cosart in this one.

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup