The Washington Nationals (71-68) are 19-12 since August 1st, the third-best record amongst National League teams behind only the Atlanta Braves (22-9) and Los Angeles Dodgers (26-7), but they start tonight's game with Miami tied with the (71-68) Arizona Diamondbacks 7.0 games out in the race for the second Wild Card spot behind the Cincinnati Reds (79-62). The Reds (who are 5-5 in their last 10) are at home in Great American Ballpark this weekend where they start a three-game set with the Dodgers, who've won 7 of their last 10.
The Nationals are in Miami to start a three-game set with the Marlins, against whom they're 9-3 so far this season though they're just 3-3 in Marlins Park, having dropped 2 of 3 in each of their visits to Florida in 2013. The Marlins (52-86) have lost 7 of their last 10 and four straight to the Nationals including three-in-a-row in the last series between the NL East rivals in the nation's capital last week and the third of three in Miami in the last series before the All-Star Break.
Dan Haren and Jose Fernandez face off on the mound in the series opener tonight. The two right-handers went head-to-head back on July 13th in the Fernandez's first career start against the Nats. Haren, 32, held the Marlins scoreless over six innings on the mound in which he gave up just three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Fernandez, 21, gave up four hits, a walk and one earned run in six innings. Nationals' closer Rafael Soriano blew Haren's 1-0 lead in the ninth, however, giving up a solo home run by Giancarlo Stanton that tied things up before the Fish won it 2-1 in the 10th inning.
• Here's the Nationals' lineup for the first game of three with the Fish in Miami:
Today's lineup at MIA: Span 8, Zimmerman 5, Harper 7, Werth 9, Desmond 6, LaRoche 3, Ramos 2, Lombardozzi 4, Haren 1 — Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 6, 2013
• Updated 5:44 PM EDT:
New #Nationals lineup: Brown 8, Zimmerman 5, Harper 7, Werth 9, Desmond 6, LaRoche 3, Ramos 2, Lombardozzi 4, Haren 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 6, 2013
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