Odd modern art? Check. Weird sculptures behind center field? Check. Fish tanks behind home plate? Check.
Welcome to Marlins Park, the weirdest stadium in baseball, where the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins will face off for a four game series, starting tonight.
Although the Nationals suffered a loss in their home opener at the hands of the Marlins, the Nats still managed to take the second game of the series, putting their head to head record with the Marlins at 1-1 on the season.
"They've got a real good team," said Dusty Baker. "They've got some guys up and down that lineup that can hit, they've got some speed."
Tonight, Tanner Roark, who took a loss at the home opener that the Marlins spoiled, will get the ball and start opposite Jose Fernandez.
Even though Roark struggled mightily that game, the righty came back with a dominating performance in his second start against the Atlanta Braves, which came a day earlier than scheduled due to Stephen Strasburg missing a start due to illness.
"He came through, big time," Baker said. "Gave us seven innings, got our bullpen back in order, and we're ready to roll."
Bryce Harper, on the other hand, had no issues in the two games against the Marlins, going 3-6 with a home run and two RBI. Since Thursday, Harper has hit another four home runs and has gone 8-15 with ten RBI.
"Being able to just have good at bats and just doing the things we can to get runs on the board, that's huge," said Harper after his fourth home run in four games in Sunday's eventual loss versus the Phillies. "[I'm] just trying to take my at bats one at a time, and know that you might get up in a big spot and something may happen".
Joe Ross, Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez all enjoyed great starts against Philadelphia this weekend, and put up strong numbers, as the Phillies only scored two runs off of Nationals starting pitching.
Most fans had few questions or worries surrounding the offense and the starting rotation after the Nationals' series in Philadelphia. However, one player that does have questions surrounding him now is closer Jonathan Papelbon, who blew a save in the tenth inning on Sunday. Papelbon did struggle earlier in the season even while recording saves, after giving up a home run against the Marlins as well as some hard hit balls. Even so, Dusty Baker does not think there's too much to worry about with the closer.
"I didn't think he was off," said Baker after Papelbon's blown save. "He was throwing harder than he had been any other time... It was just a day of near misses."
Earlier, Baker lamented about the difficulties of closing. "That closing position is a tough job. If you do the job, there's no problem, but as soon as you blow one, people forget about the other five or six that you saved."
With or without strong performances from Jonathan Papelbon, the Nationals should not have too much trouble with the Marlins. If the rotation continues to pitch well, the Nats will be in every game until the end, and the quality of Marlins pitching only decreases as the game goes on further.
The series will come down to the Nationals' ability to knock starters out of the game and have more offense beyond Bryce Harper and his home runs, which, considering the starting pitching the Nats will face, should not be an issue. Even so, weird things happen at Marlins Park.
What to watch for in Miami
Jose Fernandez is probably going to have a really good game
Even though Fernandez is off to a rough start this year, with a 5.06 ERA in two games, the Nationals could be the cure to Fernandez's problems. In three starts against the Nationals, the righty has pitched 36.2 innings, and only given up seven runs and twenty hits, leading to a career ERA of 0.98 against the Nats.
Harper homer watch
Do I even have to explain anymore? Harper added yet another home run to his total against the Marlins at the home opener, his seventeenth in his career.
At Marlins Park, Harper only has five of those home runs, but it's a little more likely that Harper will hit a home run this time around, as the fences were lowered and moved in at Marlins Park.
Max Scherzer could have a really good - or a really bad game
Scherzer, in his five starts against the Marlins last season, had five very different games, two of which were scoreless, one of which he gave up five runs in, one of which he gave up four runs in, and the other he gave up only two. A mixed bag if there ever was one.
Monday, April 18th - 7:10 PM (MASN, WDCH 99.1)
Probable Pitchers: Tanner Roark (1-1, 2.45 ERA) vs Jose Fernandez (0-1, 5.06 ERA)
Tuesday, April 19th - 7:10 PM (MASN2, WJFK)
Probable Pitchers: Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 1.98 ERA) vs Adam Conley (0-0, 3.86 ERA)
Wednesday, April 20th - 7:10 PM (MASN2, WDCH 99.1)
Probable Pitchers: Joe Ross (2-0, 0.61 ERA) vs Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 5.56 ERA)
Thursday, April 21st - 1:10 PM (MASN, WJFK)
Probable Pitchers: Max Scherzer (2-0, 3.15 ERA) vs Tom Koehler (0-2, 6.30 ERA)
Here's the Nationals' lineup for the series opener with the Marlins:
The #Nats have arrived in Miami. Here's how they'll lineup vs. the #Marlins at 7:10 pm: pic.twitter.com/rABosIV9jP— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 18, 2016