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A look at the Marlins vs. Nats series

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A look at the Marlins vs. Nats series

By Doug McKinney
CSNwashington.com

Nationals @ Marlins49-34 1st in NL East 41-44 4th in NL East

The RundownFriday, July 13-Monday, July 16Series 29Season Series Record: Marlins lead 3-2

Pitching Probables
Friday, July 13 7:10 pm
Jordan Zimmermann (5-6, 2.61 ERA) @ Josh Johnson (5-5, 4.06 ERA)

Saturday, July 14 7:10 pm
Gio Gonzalez (12-3, 2.92 ERA) @ Mark Buehrle (8-8, 3.25 ERA)
denotes left handed pitcher

Sunday, July 15 1:10 pm
Stephen Strasburg (9-4, 2.82 ERA) @ Ricky Nolasco (8-6, 4.35 ERA)

Monday, July 16 7:10 pm
Edwin Jackson (5-4, 3.73 ERA) @ Carlos Zambrano (4-7, 4.20 ERA)

Whos Hot & Whos Not
Nationals
Hot: SS Ian Desmond .378 AVG, 5 HR, 12 RBI in last 10 games
Not: LHP Sean Burnett 6.00 ERA in July

Marlins
Hot: OF Logan Morrison - .394 AVG, 3 HR, 10 RBI in last 10 games
Not: Closer Heath Bell 0-2, 9.64 ERA, in last 10 appearances
A Series Look
The Marlins flat out own the Nationals. Since coming to DC in 2005, the Nats have played the Fish 130 times, producing an awful 49-81 record against the artists formerly known as the Florida Marlins.

Tonights starter, Josh Johnson, is 8-0 with a 3.24 ERA and 87 strikeouts (his second most against any MLB club) against the Nationals. Luckily for DC, Miami wont have the services of OF Giancarlo Stanton (right knee). Stanton has posted video game like numbers against Washington. In his three-year career, the Marlins rightfielder is hitting .328 (with an absurd 1.122 OPS), belting 11 home runs (next closest total against another team: 8 vs. Phillies) and driving in 25 runs.

While the Nats have yet to win in the quirky Marlins Park, there may not be a better time to break that trend. The Marlins are 12-22 since the last time these two teams met up. Meanwhile, the Nats now own the best record in the National League and hold a nine-game lead over the fourth place Marlins.

A lot of analysts and fans were calling the Nationals series sweep over the Giants a statement series, but those who really know the Nats, would call this four-game set a more important one. Not only has Washington had problems with Miami, but manager Davey Johnson wants to open the second half of the season on a winning note. Doing so in a ballpark where they have yet to win a game, against a team they have struggled with, could go a long way for this club.

Prediction: Nationals win series 3-1

News and Notes
>There were whispers that RHP Drew Storen (elbow) would be activated for Friday nights series opener, but it sounds like the Nats brass want him to spend some more time on a rehab assignment. When the 24-year old returns, he will not be inserted into the closers role. Im expecting him to be brought back (to make his 2012 debut) when the team returns to DC for their series against the Mets on Tuesday.

>Staying on the DL front, utility man Chad Tracy (groin) should be back with the club in the next week or so. He had a setback during rehab over the weekend, but if he is cleared to resume playing in games, he shouldnt need very much longer. Tracy has been the Nationals best pinch hitter this season (.265 AVG, 3 HR, 12 RBI).

>With the All Star break over, its expected that Jayson Werth (wrist) will start swinging a bat in the near future. Werth had previously started baseball activities before the break. As Mark Zuckerman reported, the club is eyeing an early August return for the rightfielder. The former All Star was batting .276 with 3 HR, 12 RBI and a .372 OBP.

>Chien-Ming Wang (hip) starts his rehab assignment tonight with AAHarrisburg.

>The Nationals four All Star selections (Ian Desmond, Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg) are the most since the team came to DC.

>Tonight is the deadline for teams to sign their picks from the 2012 MLB Draft. The Nationals are hoping to agree to terms with first round pick RHP Lucas Giolito

Down on the Farm

>AAASyracuse: The Chiefs sent four players to the AAA All Star game this past week (Corey Brown, Zach Duke, Jim Negrych and Carlos Rivero) LHP John Lannan, who started two Opening Days for the Nationals, has posted a quality start in six of his last eight outings.

>AAHarrisburg: OF Chris Rahl (William & Mary) won the Home Run Derby at the 2012 Eastern League All Star game. For video, check out: Senatorsbaseball.com.

>A (Advanced)Potomac: The P-Nats have hosted a lot of big leaguers on rehab assignment over the last couple weeks (Storen, Tracy, Xavier Nady to name a few) There is still no update on 2011 1st round pick 3B Anthony Rendon (ankle). The Nationals expect him to return to action sometime in August.

>AHagerstown: 2011 1st round pick Alex Meyer is fresh off his appearance in the Futures Game. Meyer flashed a good fastball, dialing up 98 MPH on the radar gun. In addition to his heater, Meyer possesses a plus slider and a developing change-up. Look for a promotion to APotomac before the season is over Multiple position players are having fine seasons for the Suns including 3B Matt Skole (.280 AVG, 21 HR, 73 RBI, 14 2B) and OF Brian Goodwin (.315 AVG, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 14 SB) Former prospect who went by the name Esmailyn Gonzalez (now Carlos Alvarez) made his debut for Hagerstown last night, going 0-for-3 (with an RBI and BB) and serving as the DH.

>A (Short Season)Auburn: RHP Taylor Jordan, a 2011 SAL Mid-Season All Star, is currently rehabbing for the Doubledays Pedro Encarnacion, who was demoted from AHagerstown earlier this season, has been in a groove since the move (2-0, 1.71 ERA, 20 K7 BB in 21 innings).

>RookieGCL and DSL Nationals: 2008 5th round pick Catcher Adrian Nieto is currently on a rehab assignment for GCL Nationals. Expect Nieto to rejoin AHagerstown once he is ready, where he will return to a .259 clip (4 HR, 25 RBI) Relief pitcher Rafael Martin, who is highly regarded by some members of the Nationals think tank, has pitched in two games recently for the Nats rookie club. He is on the mend after violating MLBs drug policy.

Q&A Corner

This weeks guest is Matt Eddy, Associate Editor of Baseball America. (For more go to BaseballAmerica.com)

CSN: The trading deadline is approaching rapidly and so far, the first place Nationals haven't been mentioned as buyers in trade rumors. Do you think that will change and who will they be targeting?

BA: If the Nats are going to make a July trade, it'll be for an outfielder it would seem. Either a center fielder to take burden off Harper or a corner guy in the event that Werth doesn't make a full return. They look like they're in good shape everywhere else, especially if Storen returns at a level similar to last season.

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Max Scherzer starts as Nats hope to avoid sweep vs. Orioles

Max Scherzer starts as Nats hope to avoid sweep vs. Orioles

Nats (73-53) at Orioles (70-56) at Nationals Park

The Nationals' series against the Orioles has been quite lopsided so far through three games, with Baltimore taking each of them in relatively convincing fashion. The Nats mounted a comeback in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, but fell just short. Now they will aim to avoid a four-game sweep on Thursday night.

Max Scherzer (13-7, 3.05) will get the ball for Washington in his 27th start of the season. He's looking to bounce back from a four-run outing against the Braves his last time out. Scherzer last faced the Orioles on July 12 of 2015 when he tossed 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball at Camden Yards.

Pitching for Baltimore will be right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.94). He has had a horrendous season, but he's got a very good history against the Nats with a 2.32 ERA through eight starts. Last season he threw six innings with zero earned runs allowed on Sept. 22 of last year.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Max Scherzer vs. Orioles - Ubaldo Jimenez

NATS

CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Max Scherzer

ORIOLES

TBA
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE STATS AND SCORES

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Nationals prospect report: Minor league season wrapping up

Nationals prospect report: Minor league season wrapping up

Triple-A Syracuse

Lucas Giolito - RHP

Giolito pitched one inning in his last start (8/23) and struck out two batters. He'll be in DC this weekend - whether it's as a starter or reliever remains to be seen. 

Austin Voth - RHP

Voth was better this week, although walks continue to be an issue. He went six innings while allowing two runs on six hits in his last start (8/20) while also walking three and striking out seven. After a quick rise through the system, he stalled out at Triple-A a bit. Can't imagine he'd be a September call-up candidate at this point. 

Mat Latos - RHP

Here's a name that hasn't been around in a while. Latos has a 0.82 ERA over 11 innings pitched, which is purely anecdotal at this point. Still, that's what Mat Latos has been up to. 

Double-A Harrisburg

Jose Marmolejos  - 1B

Marmolejos keeps hitting. He's hitting .342 over his last 10 games to raise his season average to .295. He hasn't quite shown the power he did in Potomac, but he's only played 21 games in Harrisburg. 

Eric Fedde - RHP

In his last start against Richmond, Fedde got knocked around, giving up three earned runs on nine hits while walking and striking out three. In 16.1 innings pitched at Double-A, Fedde has an ERA over 6. Adjustment time! 

Single-A Potomac

Victor Robles - OF

Potomac has not been kind to Robles. He's hitting .179 over the last 10 games and .214 as a whole in Single-A. He'll start the season there next year. 

 

 

 

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Nationals acquire LHP from Oakland

Nationals acquire LHP from Oakland

Updated: 12:06 p.m.

In desperate need of bullpen help, particularly a left-hander, the Nationals pulled off a trade Thursday morning to acquire southpaw Marc Rzepczynski from the Oakland Athletics. In order to get him, they paid a big price by parting with minor league infielder Max Schrock, who was a rising talent in their system.

Rzepczynski, 30, joins the Nats with a 3.00 ERA in 56 appearances this season. He has 37 strikeouts in 36 innings, but also 24 walks and a 1.722 WHIP. Due to his long and unusual name, his nickname is 'Scrabble.'

An eight-year MLB veteran, Rzepczynski will be a free agent after this season. This is the fifth time he's been traded in the last six years, having also spent time with the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Indians and Padres. He holds a 3.87 ERA in 405 career MLB appearances. Rzepczynski also has 18 postseason appearances under his belt.

Rzepczynski throws a fastball in the low- to mid-90s and relies heavily on a slider/changeup combination. Among relievers with at least 30 innings pitched this season, he has the second-best groundball percentage to only Orioles closer Zach Britton. Nats right-hander Blake Treinen is sixth.

Rzepczynski will help the Nats in the short-term as they currently have a bullpen beaten up by injuries, rain delays and short outings by their starters. He is also now their best lefty reliever with Sammy Solis on the disabled list and Oliver Perez suffering through a long stretch of ineffectiveness.

But in the long-term, losing Schrock could be a tough pill to swallow. The Nats took him in the 13th round of the 2015 draft and signed him despite concerns he would return to school at the University of South Carolina. The 21-year-old has emerged as a star in the minors with a .333/.378/.456 slash-line and nine homers, 68 RBI and 22 steals at Single-A this season. Schrock is a year or two away from the majors, but when he gets there he could be a valuable offensive player.

Rzepczynski, though, is just what the Nats need at the moment and they have to do all they can to take advantage of the opportunity in front of them this season to potentially win a World Series.

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