Marlins search for offense, answer for Nationals

MLB Baseball

The Washington Nationals — the hottest team in the National League over the past 10 games with a 9-1 record — are set to visit the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.

Nationals veteran right-hander Joe Ross (3-7, 4.54 ERA) faces Marlins rookie right-hander Cody Poteet (2-2, 3.90 ERA) in the opener of a four-game series between National League East rivals.

Miami, in last place in the division, is on a three-game losing streak. During this skid, the Marlins have scored just two runs. In the two previous games, Miami combined for 21 runs.

“That’s probably been our biggest question all year long,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “You see us break out, and you see what we’re capable of, putting runs on the board. And then we have trouble getting anything going at all.

“It’s been frustrating for all of us, not finding that consistency.”

Over these past three games, Miami has combined for a total of just 14 hits. The Marlins’ only two runs during that span came on solo homers by Jesus Sanchez and Starling Marte.

Meanwhile, the Nationals scored more than six times that many runs on Wednesday alone, beating the Philadelphia Phillies, 13-12.

One of the keys for the Nationals has been left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who homered yet again on Wednesday.

He had nine homers in the first two months of the season, comprising 43 games and 161 at-bats. In contrast, he has 10 homers in 20 June games over 72 at-bats.

“Hitting is a feeling,” said Schwarber, 28, who is batting leadoff for Washington. “There’s approach and things like that, but when you step in the box and everything feels right, you have a big advantage.”

The top-third of Washington’s lineup also includes stars Trea Turner, who turns 28 on Wednesday, and Juan Soto, 22.

Turner, Washington’s speedy shortstop, is batting .315 with 13 doubles, one triple, 11 homers and a league-leading 15 steals in 18 attempts. Turner, who has stolen at least 30 bases in four seasons, hit .342 in 73 games in 2016 and .335 in 59 contests last year.

Soto, who hit 34 homers with 110 RBIs in 2019, batted .351 in 47 games last year. This season, he is off to a relatively slow start, batting .274 with an .825 OPS.

Ross, who is in his sixth MLB season, is 24-26 with a 4.34 career ERA. In eight career games (four starts) against the Marlins, Ross is 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA. In four games in Miami, including two starts, he is 0-1 with a 1.74 ERA.

Poteet, 26, made his MLB debut on May 12, and the Marlins are 3-3 when he starts.

Although he has yet to face Washington, Poteet hopes to earn his first win since May 23.

He allowed just two runs in his first 17 innings. Since then, however, he has allowed 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings.

Poteet is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his only start so far in Miami.

–Field Level Media

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