The second half of the Major League Baseball season begins on Friday with the Miami Marlins opening a four-game-set at home against the Washington Nationals. The Marlins limped into the All-Star break after blowing a two-run lead in the 9th inning of a 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Fish finished their final road-trip prior to the Mid-Summer Classic just 4-5 with a few very close losses. The Marlins will be home for just four games before hitting the road for a six-game-trip that includes stops in Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Miami finished the first half of the season with a 41-44 record putting them in fourth place in the National League East. The Marlins trail Washington by nine games in the division making this series an important one for the Fish. Miami is also five games back of the Atlanta Braves for the final wild spot in the National League. The first place Nationals enter the series with a 49-34 record, the best in the N.L. Washington holds a four-game-lead over the Braves in the division. The Fish and Nats will play night games on Friday, Saturday and Monday sandwiched around a day game on Sunday afternoon.
Miami leads 3-2. The home team has won all five previous meetings which will be a trend the Marlins hope continue this series. Washington took two from the Marlins when the teams met in D.C. back in April. That series was originally scheduled for three games, but the finale was postponed due to rain. The Marlins completed a three-game sweep of the Nationals when the teams met in Miami to conclude the month of May.
Stanton Out 4-6 Weeks, Marlins Unrepresented at All-Star Game
The Miami Marlins did not have a player at the All-Star game as right fielder Giancarlo Stanton underwent knee surgery the day before the break to remove a loose body. Stanton was also slated to participate in Monday’s Home Run Derby. The surgery will likely sideline Stanton for 4-6 weeks. Stanton leads Miami with 19 home runs, 50 RBIs and a .364 on-base percentage. If there is good news for the Fish, it is that Emilio Bonifacio could re-join the team very soon. Bonifacio led all of baseball with 20 stolen bases prior to going on the disabled list in mid-May with a hand injury.
National League wins All-Star Game
It doesn’t seem to matter much now, but the National League shut out the American League 8-0 on Tuesday night to win the All-Star Game meaning that the N.L. will have home-field-advantage in the World Series. This doesn’t seem to effect the Marlins much, but at the break in 2003, the Fish were 4.5 games out of the wild card. Right now, they’re just five back. The Marlins went on to win the World Series in 2003 although in the World Series that year, they did not have home-field advantage.
Friday – Jordan Zimmermann (WASH) 5-6, 2.61 ERA vs. Josh Johnson (MIA) 5-5, 4.06 ERA
Saturday – Gio Gonzalez (WASH) 12-3, 2.92 ERA vs. Mark Buehrle (MIA) 8-8, 3.25 ERA
Sunday – Stephen Strasburg (WASH) 9-4, 2.82 ERA vs. Ricky Nolasco (MIA) 8-6, 4.35 ERA
Monday – Edwin Jackson (WASH) 5-4, 3.73 ERA vs. Carlos Zambrano (MIA) 4-7, 4.20 ERA
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