The Washington Nationals begin a three-game series against the Miami Marlins tonight; here are five storylines to keep an eye on.
The Washington Nationals are coming off of a series split against the New York Mets, which was a fairly odd series with A.J. Cole and Erick Fedde both receiving starts for the Nats. Alejandro de Aza also started three of the four games and Rafael Bautista was called up and received a start in right field, going 2-for-4.
To make matters even weirder, the Potomac Nationals had more members of the Nats’ Opening Day starting lineup in their lineup than the actual Nats did on Friday night. Trea Turner and Jayson Werth started for Potomac, while the Nats only had Daniel Murphy. Everyone else is either hurt or had the game off.
The Nats have been plagued by injuries all season long and players are finally beginning to progress towards returns, but this odd stat perfectly exemplifies the Nats’ season.
Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins are coming off of a series sweep against the San Diego Padres and have won eight of their last ten games, including four straight. It’s no surprise that the Marlins are heating up at the same time as Giancarlo Stanton is going on an unbelievable home run tear.
In addition to Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, and Derek Dietrich are all hitting at least .290 over the last week. The Marlins’ pitching staff is nothing to write home about, especially without Edinson Volquez, but their offense has been one of the best in the league lately, which has allowed them to remain in the playoff picture.
While the Marlins have been written off by most, they are only 4.5 games back in the National League Wild Card race. With the way Miami is playing, that deficit will be difficult, but possible to overcome.
The Marlins enter this series 12 games behind the Nats in the NL East, but are currently playing better than their record would lead you to believe. If the Nats aren’t at the top of their game, this could be a difficult series.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five key storylines for what should be a competitive three-game set between the top two teams in the NL East.