The Washington Nationals will look to extend their huge lead over the Miami Marlins in the NL East on Monday night in the series opener of a four-game set between the ball clubs.
Washington Nationals Form
The Nationals head into the series opener after winning two of three against the defending champion Chicago Cubs that helped push their commanding NL East division lead to 13 games over Miami.
It has been another strong season with a balanced team both at the plate and on the mound. Two-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer is putting yet another campaign deserving of the honor once again this season currently holding a 12-5 record with a 2.21 ERA, 201 strikeouts, and two complete games pitched.
Scherzer has had a favorable history against the Marlins holding a 6-3 record with a 3.45 ERA in 12 career starts. This also includes nearly posting a no-hitter against them on June 21 that was broken up in the eighth inning and eventually led to a 2-1 loss.
The 33-year-old also exited his last start with a neck strain due to sleeping on it awkwardly a few nights prior. In response, Washington provided him an extra day off in order to avoid any setbacks.
That said, it’s been the Nationals’ bats that have done most of the talking currently ranked as the second-best offense in the league behind the Houston Astros in runs scored and doubles while ranking third in home runs, hits, and team batting average.
Washington has been lead by their three All-Stars in former NL MVP outfielder Bryce Harper, second baseman Daniel Murphy, and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman along with third baseman Anthony Rendon. Each of them are batting over .300 while all have hit at least 19 home runs and driven in 70-plus runs.
Their explosive offense has helped them generate a league-leading 5.5 runs per game while also lifting them to one of the best marks in the National League.
Miami Marlins Form
It has been a difficult season for the Marlins that has been plagued with inconsistency through the year currently sitting five games under .500 at a 52-57 record.
Despite that, Miami has won six out of their last 10 games including three out of the last five that has created some sort of optimism that there could be some hope for a late-season turnaround.
Much of that has centered around their offensive production led by All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who is leading the majors with 36 home runs with 79 RBIs while batting .278 on the season.
Fellow All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna is experiencing a breakout year currently posting career highs across the board with a .306 batting average with 26 home runs and 87 RBIs. The two have helped anchor an offense that has helped keep them afloat near a .500 record at this point in the season and the backend of the postseason picture at 10 games out of the second NL wild card spot.
However, the Marlins two power bats could face some struggles against Scherzer as each hasn’t fared well their career with Stanton being 3-for-12 (.250) with a home run and Ozuna at 5-for-22 (.227) with two home runs.
Miami is expected to counter with left-hander Chris O’Grady, who holds a 2-1 record with a 5.40 ERA this season. O’Grady struggled in his last start against the Nationals on Aug. 1 where he went just three innings giving up seven hits with two home runs for six earned runs in what turned out to be a 7-6 win.
The bookmakers currently pegged this game in a highly favorable manner toward the Washington. Ladbrokes has the Nationals holding odds at 5/17 while the Marlins are at 27/10.
We would suggest that you ride with the Nationals at 6/4 odds given that they are putting the reigning Cy Young winner on the mound behind one of the top offenses in the league. Meanwhile, Miami has struggled to find any consistency to warrant any confidence in picking them at this point in time.