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Marlins seek boost starting 4-game series at Washington

Jun 9, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) hits a two-run RBI single during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins are in desperate need of a pick-me-up.

They might have found one going into a four-game series in Washington, with the first of those matchups against the Nationals coming Friday night.

Wednesday night’s 4-3 victory at St. Louis featured a complete game from pitcher Sandy Alcantara and Avisail Garcia’s two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning.

“You hope this is like a turning point for us,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ve got to go on the road of just winning consistently. We never seem to really gain traction. Hopefully, this is something where we turn the page.”

The Marlins have lost two of three in each of their last two series.

The Nationals had a season-best, three-game winning streak snapped with Wednesday’s 8-7 home loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Still, the seven runs scored were the first time that Washington scored that many since a June 19 win versus Philadelphia.

For the Nationals, it’s a matter of moving on after a “fourth out” appeal ruling went against them in Wednesday’s game.

“It’s kind of frustrating,” manager Davey Martinez said. “We had some good moments, too. … Get some rest and come back Friday and we have Miami coming in. Let’s go 1-0.”

Both teams were off Thursday.

A couple of veteran players could be in the spotlight.

For the Marlins, this could turn out to be a breakthrough for Garcia, a 31-year-old outfielder in his first season with the Marlins. He’s batting .227, so a game-winning homer might be a spark.

“It’s big to come to a new club and a new city,” Mattingly said of Garcia. “Hopefully, it’s something that just (creates) relaxation for him and just lets him go play.”

For the Nationals, there’s slugger Nelson Cruz. The designated hitter, who’s just 2-for-11 in the first three games of the homestand, turns 42 years old Friday.

The Marlins should be well-rested in the bullpen as left-hander Trevor Rogers (3-6. 5.86 ERA) takes his turn for a start. Rogers has two wins this year against the Nationals, going a total of 11 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits.

Right-hander Josiah Gray (6-4, 3.82) gets the call for the Nationals. Gray has faced the Marlins three times this season, with one loss and two no-decisions. He has covered 16 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs. He was unscored upon in five innings June 8 at Miami.

Gray’s last two starts at home have been stellar, giving up one run in 11 innings. He has a five-start stretch overall when he hasn’t given up more than two runs and he’s coming off Saturday’s career-long seven-inning stint at Texas.

The Nationals’ bullpen has hit some unanticipated bumps recently, so the day off could recharge that group.

“Those guys are throwing the ball well,” Martinez said. “But when you come into these games and face good hitters, you still have to make good pitches.”

The Marlins added infielder Luke Williams to the roster from Triple-A Jacksonville as infielder Jazz Chisholm went on the injured list with a back injury. They might also have infielder Joey Wendle back for this series as he should be near the end of a rehabilitation assignment for a hamstring strain.

–Field Level Media