What to Watch for: 7.12.13

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Washington Nationals (47-45) vs. Miami Marlins (33-57)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-6, 2.45) vs. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.55)

The Nationals head south for their final series before the All-Star break, as Stephen Strasburg leads the charge into Miami for a three-game set beginning Friday night. Since May 11, Strasburg owns the National League’s second-lowest ERA at 1.74 (12 ER/62.0 IP), and has struck out 63 batters over that 10-start span.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Werth RF

7. Rendon 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Strasburg RHP

DESTINATION D.C.

At 16-18 (6-5 at home, 10-13 on the road), the Nationals enter the final series before the All-Star break with a sub-.500 record against the NL East this season. However, 26 of their 39 contests vs. NL East opponents after the All-Star break will take place in D.C. By the end of this weekend, the Nationals will have visited each of their four NL East rivals twice and hosted each just once. That trend will reverse itself after the break.

WERTH THE WAIT

Jayson Werth is batting .328 (40-for-122) with 16 walks, six doubles, six home runs, 21 runs scored, 21 RBI and a .403 on-base percentage in 34 games since returning from the DL (right hamstring) on June 4. Werth has hit safely in eight straight games, with a .538/.594/.769 slash line, along with two home runs and four multi-hit performances during that stretch.

CRUISING PAST CRISTIAN

With tonight’s series opener, Ian Desmond moves past Cristian Guzman into sole possession of second place on the Nationals’ all-time games played list. Here is how that list looked at the completion of play on Thursday:

Ryan Zimmerman: 1068 games

Desmond: 550

Guzman: 550

Roger Bernadina: 450

Nick Johnson: 414

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