Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins Series Preview (5/13-5/15)
Jose Fernandez vs. Joe Ross (3-2, 2.29)– 1:35 p.m, MASN2/WUSA9
On Sunday, the Nats will be going up against the Marlins’ ace in the final game of this series. In his last outing against the Brewers back on May 9, he went seven innings, gave up no runs on four hits, struck out 11, and walked four in the win. He has won three straight games and hasn’t lost since April 23.
While the 23-year-old right-hander has 58 strikeouts this season (fourth in the National League), he has been erratic with his command at time. His 20 walks are third in the NL and he has walked more than one batter in five of his six outings.
Against the Nats back on April 18, he went six innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out nine, and walked four in a win. He is 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA in seven career starts vs. Washington. Harper is 3-for-11 (.273) with one RBI and five walks against Fernandez.
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This will be another good test for Ross on Sunday afternoon going up against Fernandez. In his last outing, Ross had difficulties with his command at times and it cost him the sixth inning. Against the Tigers on Tuesday, he went six innings, gave up five runs on eight hits, struck out four, and walked two.
Even though Ross has lost back-to-back games, he has done a good job of not giving up many home runs (one in 35.1 innings). In that Detroit outing, he only threw 15 first pitch strikes to the 28 batters that he faced, which isn’t the command Ross is known for having.
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This season, the 22-year-old right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA in two outings against Miami. Last time against the Marlins (April 20), he had to leave that start early because of a blister after only two innings. Stanton is 1-for-4 with a RBI against Ross while Christian Yelich (.386, no home runs, ten RBI’s) is 0-for-1 with three walks.
Prediction: This matchup should be a lot of fun to watch with two quality pitchers going at it. While I expect Ross to put up a good outing, the Washington Nationals offense usually struggles against Fernandez. Right now, I would give the slight edge to the Marlins in the series finale.