While the Washington Nationals continue to implode this season, the Miami Marlins look to take advantage as they have the opportunity to sweep the once playoff-bound Nats at home on Sunday afternoon.
Miami, winners of both four games and series in a row, take the field in the finale against Washington having squeaked out a pair of low-scoring victories in the first two games of the weekend series. The Fish won 2-1 on Friday and 2-0 on Saturday.
Brad Hand has struggled through his last couple of starts after a stellar month of August. He faced these Nationals on the road two starts ago and came away with a loss in just 4.2 innings. He gave up five runs on eight hits.
His opponent, Max Scherzer, is in a similar boat. The big righty hasn't won a game since a victory on July 30 against the Fish at Marlins Park. In that game, Scherzer threw seven shutout innings and allowed just three hits.
|WASHINGTON NATIONALS||MIAMI MARLINS|
|Anthony Rendon - 2B||Ichiro Suzuki - RF|
|Yunel Escobar - 3B||Christian Yelich - LF|
|Bryce Harper - RF||Martin Prado - 3B|
|Jayson Werth - LF||Justin Bour - 1B|
|Ian Desmond - SS||Marcell Ozuna - CF|
|Wilson Ramos - C||Derek Dietrich - 2B|
|Michael Taylor - CF||Miguel Rojas - SS|
|Tyler Moore - 1B||Jeff Mathis - C|
|Max Scherzer - RHP||Brad Hand - LHP|
Young gun Bryce Harper, the NL leader in batting average, has only one hit and five strikeouts in this series. Harper has a home run and five RBIs in his career against Hand.
Infielder Martin Prado just continues to hit, hit and hit some more. He has four walks and two more knocks in this series so far. Sunday should be no different as Prado is 8-for-16 against Scherzer in his career.
- Hand will need to keep the Nationals offense off the board early. Washington's bats have struggled and he cannot let them get into any groove in the opening frames.
- The Marlins' bats have averaged less than three runs per game in their last seven contests. However, they are 5-2 in those games. Pitching and early offense will be key.
Bold Prediction: Marlins win 4-3.