Miami is in second place behind Washington in the National League East but too far behind to make a run at the division and will instead be looking toward the future. The Marlins have a nice group of young hitters but their pitching has been a mess this season, which has held them back from contending.
Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
Dates: Monday, August 7, 2017 – Thursday, August 10, 2017
Location: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
Washington has the second-best record in the National League and seem pretty well locked in as the No. 2 seed since the Los Angeles Dodgers are way ahead and the Chicago Cubs are far behind. The Diamondbacks are close to the Nationals in the standings but can only grab a wild card, so Washington should have home field advantage in the National League Divisional Series.
The Nationals have impressive starting pitching and a powerful lineup. Bryce Harper is among the contenders for the MVP while Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy have also had big years. The Nationals are 20 games over .500 but could be even better if not for some bullpen issues early in the year. They have since acquired Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler to shore up that weakness.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Monday, August 7, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET (MLB Network)
Chris O’Grady (Marlins) vs. Max Scherzer (Nationals)
The Nationals will be heavy favorites in the opener because they have the home field advantage, the superior lineup and a big pitching advantage. Scherzer is having his typical brilliant year, with a 12-5 record, 2.21 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. Scherzer has struck out 201 batters in 146.1 innings pitched.
He left his last start after only one inning because of a neck issue but it’s not expected to keep him off the mound in this one. If he can’t go, it will have a large impact on the odds. If Scherzer is shelved for any reason, shop around for odds at a few sportsbooks.
O’Grady is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts. He is averaging nearly a strikeout per inning but is walking too many batters. These have been the first five starts of his career and O’Grady will need to be really dialed in to limit the damage by the Nationals’ lineup.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET (Local TV)
Vance Worley (Marlins) vs. A.J. Cole (Nationals)
The Marlins should have a better chance in this one. Worley is 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA but has a career ERA of 3.85 and is a solid veteran. He may not shut down Washington, but he could keep Miami in the game.
The Nationals will send out Cole for his third career start. The young right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA on the season. Cole only gave up one earned run in six innings in his debut but allowed five runs in five innings last time out. Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has been hot of late and he hopes to have a big game and series.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, August 9, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET (Local TV)
Adam Conley (Marlins) vs. Tanner Roark (Nationals)
Conley is 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA. He has been solid in his past four starts but hasn’t proven over a longer length of time. Conley’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is below average and he’s more of a fill-in starter than a player with a bright future unless he can improve.
Roark is 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA. He has a career 3.34 ERA and hopes to turn it around down the stretch. The Marlins have enough offensive firepower to get to him if he isn’t on his game.
Game 4 Probable Pitchers – Thursday, August 10, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET (Local TV)
Dan Straily (Marlins) vs. Gio Gonzalez (Nationals)
Straily is the most established of the Miami pitchers and enters with a 7-8 record and a 3.77 ERA. He has an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio and is one Marlins hurler with the stuff to limit the damage by Washington.
Gonzalez flirted with a no-hitter last time out, giving up only one run in eight innings of work. He has a 9-5 record with a sparkling 2.66 ERA on the season and hopes to keep rolling against the Marlins.