What to Watch For: 8/28

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Washington Nationals (77-50) vs. Miami Marlins (58-71)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (15-5, 2.85) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (9-12, 5.07)

The Nationals head to Florida after their second day of rest in the past five calendar days as they open a short, two-game set in Miami. Shortstop Ian Desmond and outfielder Michael Morse both return to the lineup as Stephen Strasburg looks to get Washington back in the win column against the division-rival Marlins.


1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP


Stephen Strasburg looks to end Washington’s four-game losing streak tonight against Miami, a club against which he has fired 27.0 consecutive scoreless innings, spanning four-plus starts. This is the second-longest streak among active MLB pitchers, joining teammate Gio Gonzalez and his 27.2 scoreless innings streak against Cleveland. It is also the longest such streak in Nationals (‘05-present) history. Strasburg has worked at least 6.0 scoreless innings in five of seven career starts against the Fish.


Nationals pinch-hitters are collectively having one of the finest seasons since pinch statistics began being compiled by STATS, Inc. in 1974. In 2012, Davey Johnson’s pinch hitters are batting .315 (46-for-146) with 12 doubles, a triple, three home runs, 21 RBI, 19 walks and five HBP. Last year, Nationals pinch hitters batted .186 (38-for-204) with just five extra-base hits. Using pinch-hit numbers, Washington ranks among the best of the 538 individual National League clubs beginning in 1974 in batting average (second overall, .315), on-base percentage (third overall, .409), slugging percentage (ninth overall, .473) and OPS (third overall, .882).


Ryan Zimmerman’s 16 career homers against the Marlins are tied with Atlanta for the most he’s hit against another club. The Nationals won their final two series at Sun Life Stadium, but have lost their initial two at Marlins Park. Via a 10-8 mark in ‘07, the Nationals/Expos franchise has won only one season series from the Marlins since ‘98. With a 3-1 win on Sept. 28, 2011, Stephen Strasburg (win) and the Nationals helped end Florida’s tenure at Sun Life Stadium. Roger Bernadina recorded the final hit and RBI in the venue’s 19-year MLB history.


August 28, 2008: Cristian Guzman becomes the first Washington, DC.-based big leaguer to hit for the cycle (sequence: HR, 1B, 2B, 3B) in front of fans in the Nation’s Capital. Before Guzman’s feat, six players representing the AL Nationals, Senators, expansion Senators or Nationals hit for the cycle, but all six came on the road. Guzman’s cycle was the seventh to occur in D.C. since 1900, the first in nearly 61 years, since Detroit’s Vic Wertz ran the gamut on September 14, 1947 at Griffith Stadium.


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