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Series Preview: Washington Nationals vs Miami Marlins in D.C.

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The Nats return to D.C. for their first home games of the season, starting with a three game series against the Miami Marlins.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

For the past few seasons, the Miami Marlins have been stuck between rebuilding and contending, and the Washington Nationals have taken advantage of that state of limbo - since 2013, the Nats have gone 37-20 against the Fish, while scoring 248 runs.

The Marlins will come to Nats Park this afternoon to kick off a three game series which begins today with the Nationals' home opener.

Since 2012, the Nats have a 2-2 record in their first game of the season at Nationals Park.

One difference between this year's home opener and last year's is the lineup - not only is it considerably different, but almost everyone is healthy, compared to 2015, when we were treated to this lineup on Opening Day.

Only four position players remain from that lineup. It would be three, if it weren't for Ben Revere's oblique strain, which means Michael A. Taylor will get the start on the home opener for the second year in a row.

At least for this series, Taylor's presence will be a downgrade over Revere - Taylor has a career .240 average against Miami, while Revere has posted a respectable .313 clip.

Luckily for the Nationals, though, the rest of the team should not have too much of an issue with the Marlins' pitching - the Nats are catching the back end of Miami's rotation, which features two pitchers that had ERAs higher than 4.08 last season.

For the second series in a row, the Nationals are facing an in-division team who are struggling. It's still crucial for the Nationals to beat up on them if they want to contend for the postseason

The Marlins ultimately should not be an issue for the Nationals, unless Ross and Roark both struggle and can't hold Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon back, which is no easy task.

The Nationals still should have the advantage with Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman in the starting lineup, both of whom have historically been good against Miami, and the pitching advantage seems to clearly lie with the Nationals.

Even so, weirder things have happened.

What to watch for this series:

Harper homer watch

Bryce Harper hit seven home runs against the Marlins last year, including three home runs in one game against Tom Koehler, who he'll face on Saturday.

Joe Ross could have a rough time on Saturday

Joe Ross struggled through his start at the Nationals' final exhibition game, giving up 8 runs in 5 innings, and throwing 95 pitches.

Although the Marlins aren't as impressive offensively as the Twins, Ross still could have a tough outing if his last start was any indication.

It's going to be extremely cold this weekend

Don't expect too many balls to fly out of the yard this weekend. Saturday and Sunday will have temperatures in the low forties, and there's even a chance of snow on Saturday. If you ever considered splurging for those club tickets, Saturday might be the day to do it.

Don't expect Dee Gordon to make too many outs

Dee Gordon, who hit .342 last season against the Nationals, has a career .667 average against Tanner Roark, who he'll face on Thursday.

Thursday, April 7th: Marlins vs Nationals - 4:05 PM
Probable Pitchers: Adam Conley vs Tanner Roark

Saturday, April 9th: Marlins vs Nationals - 4:05 PM
Probable Pitchers: Tom Koehler vs Joe Ross

Sunday, April 10th: Marlins vs Nationals - 1:35 PM
Probable Pitchers: Jarred Cosart vs Max Scherzer (1-0)