The Washington Nationals have a big week ahead of them as they look to solidify a spot in the NL Wild Card Game. They’re in Miami for three days and then immediately head out for Philadelphia Sunday night. The Nationals and Phillies will meet for five games, Tuesday a doubleheader to make up for a previous rainout.
The Nationals are clinging to homefield advantage in the Wild Card Game, with a 1-game advantage over the Brewers going into Friday. Washington have been in that position for some weeks now, so if they were to lose out on the postseason it’d be a long cold winter for them.
There are a lot of scenarios still in play for the Nationals. What we do know is that the Nationals will not be competing for the NL East this week. They’re a mile behind the Braves with a 9.5-game deficit, so that’s good and gone for the Nats. Going to the postseason and watching the Phillies sit at home would be a small win for the Nats.
Bryce Harper would likely not be tuning-in to watch his former team compete in the postseason. Even if the Nationals are one-and-done, Bryce can’t say much. But there is still time for the Nationals to fold and for the Phillies to play catch up. Next week sets up the best possible chance for the Phillies.
The Marlins, of course, are playing for absolutely nothing. They hope to stay healthy and get some experience in for the younger guys. This season could have really been a lot different for the Marlins if they retained Christian Yelich and still had Jose Fernandez.
I’m not confident that the Marlins would have paid Fernandez, so that could be a moot point. Marlins’ brass have faced plenty of criticism for being cheap. Veteran, Anibal Sanchez, is expected to be starting on the mound for the Nats tonight. Robert Dugger will be making his sixth start in the majors. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Marlins pick.
Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins Pick:
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Robert Dugger will attempt to upset Nationals’ fans with a strong performance tonight. The team may have nothing to play for, but Dugger is looking to impress management enough to become a fixture of the rotation next season. With just five games under his belt, Dugger hasn’t had much experience pitching in the major leagues. That said, Dugger has pitched pretty well for an inexperienced guy. Dugger enters Friday night with an ERA of 3.95 and 1.35 WHIP. While those are decent numbers, he is still searching for his first win as a major leaguer. When you play for a team like the Marlins, it’s going to be tough as a starting pitcher to find wins.
Dugger hasn’t really played any dangerous offenses yet, though. The Brewers and Mets are good, but he’s also played the Reds, Pirates, and Giants. At 13th with 4.87 runs scored per game, the Mets are the best offense that Dugger has pitched against. His appearance against them got out of hand, as Dugger was swatted for 6 earned runs in 5 innings of work. The Nationals will be the first top-10 offense that he’s pitched against in his career. They are 7th in the majors with an average of 5.30 runs scored per contest. I’m expecting Dugger to struggle a bit against the Nats here.
Anibal Sanchez had faced the Marlins’ roster in 172 at-bats. They’ve been slightly below average with a .244 average against Sanchez. He’s been having a pretty good season overall, especially considering everyone believed his career was dead in 2017. Sanchez has been strong on the road, posting a 3.36 ERA in 1.22 WHIP. In his previous five games, he’s allowed 2 or fewer runs in four. He is likely going to be sharp against his former employer tonight. The Nationals have completely dominated the Marlins when they meet. Washington are 41-15 in their previous 56 games. I will be on the Nationals to get a win here by 2 or more runs.