It's going to be a tough act to follow, but the Washington Nationals are going to have to play again after Max Scherzer's twenty strikeout performance.
For the 128 game encore, the Nats will face off against the Miami Marlins on Friday night, which will kick off the third series between the two teams this season.
Coming off of a dominating performance from Scherzer, there's definitely some momentum coming out of the Nationals' clubhouse.
To keep it rolling, Gio Gonzalez will need to get back on track tonight after giving up five runs to the Chicago Cubs on May 7th.
"His pitch count had gotten high... they had a couple guys that hadn't had any success against left-handers," said Dusty Baker, after Gonzalez's rough sixth inning. "The ball just didn't bounce our way."
However, Gonzalez has enjoyed lots of success in his career against his hometown Miami Marlins, with a 6-3 career record and a 2.38 ERA, while only surrendering seventeen runs and fifty hits.
Gio has yet to pitch against Miami this season.
Stephen Strasburg will also pitch this series, his first game since his shocking seven-year, $175 million extension was announced.
"They took great care of me, and not just as a pitcher," said Strasburg at the presser. "I think what they believe in and what I believe in kind of coincide, so it seemed like just a great fit for me and my family".
"One of our real cornerstones and a guy that really put us on the map has decided to stay home. We couldn't be more proud of him and the city of Washington, D.C., and of his teammates for him making that decision," Mike Rizzo told the media. "We couldn't be prouder of it."
Now, Mike Rizzo will get to see what he bargained for officially for the first time. Strasburg struggled early against Detroit in an eventful game on Monday, but eventually got things sorted out by the time he exited.
"It was a grind," Strasburg told media members while standing at his locker. "I threw a couple of pitches that I would definitely want back. I just kept trying to turn the page and tried to do everything I could to keep the score where it was."
"Stras, early, like most good starters, he wasn't sharp early. That's a potent lineup over there," Dusty Baker said. "They're a typical American League, power-laden team. But Stras settled down."
The Marlins will try to stay over .500 on the season against the Nationals, which starts with consistent pitching behind Jose Fernandez, including tonight's starter, Tom Koehler.
Koehler, in 29.1 innings, has given up nineteen earned runs.
Nationals Park isn't an ideal place for Koehler to turn things around; Koehler has given up 22 runs in 35.1 innings at Nats Park, leading him to a 1-5 record in the District of Columbia.
Meanwhile, the Nationals bats will attempt to capitalize on the sometimes weak Marlins pitching, including Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman.
If Dusty Baker chooses to continue placing the hot hitting Daniel Murphy in the cleanup spot, Anthony Rendon will not only have a new runner to drive in with Ben Revere, but also protection in Bryce Harper, once teams will stop walking him due to Murphy's presence.
On the other side of the diamond from Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman will also attempt to get things going. In 2016, Zimmerman is hitting a meager .239 with only 15 RBI, but Dusty Baker has still kept the faith, which paid off on Tuesday night, as Zimmerman went yard twice.
"Zim swung the bat awesome tonight, big time," Baker noted on Tuesday.
Ben Revere will also try to get things moving after returning from the DL - in his first week back, the centerfielder is only hitting .103, but Baker is confident that he'll pick back up soon.
"I mean, he's hit some balls on the nose. As long as he's putting the ball in play and doesn't get frustrated, then Ben Revere is going to get hits."
Dusty Baker went on to comment that Revere should be good - once the game of catchup is over.
"He's a month behind. These guys are a month ahead of him as far as sharpness, as far as breaking balls, as far as location, so when you're playing catchup, that's exactly what it's like."
Revere is a career .303 hitter against the Marlins.
The Nationals, at least towards the beginning of the season, should not have had any trouble with the Marlins, but still struggled to a 3-3 on the season against them. If the Nats can hit Koehler and other struggling starters on the Marlins, there should not be too much of a problem for the home team. Key word being should.
What to watch for at Nationals Park
Harper homer watch
Please, please, please. Harper will try and get some power back against Miami; against Tom Koehler, Harper has six home runs and eleven RBI.
Jose Fernandez is very good
Jose Fernandez has been dominant in his last few starts. Like, super dominant. As in, eighteen strikeouts in twelve innings.
Game times and TV info
Friday, May 13th: Marlins vs Nationals - 7:05 PM (MASN2, WJFK)
Probable Pitchers: Tom Koehler (2-3, 5.83 ERA) vs Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.19 ERA)
Saturday, May 14th: Marlins vs Nationals - 1:05 PM (MASN, WJFK, 1580 AM)
Probable Pitchers: Justin Nicolino (2-0, 2.79 ERA) vs Stephen Strasburg (5-0, 2.76 ERA)
Saturday, May 14th: Marlins vs Nationals - 7:05 PM (MASN2, WJFK)
Probable Pitchers: TBD vs Tanner Roark (2-2, 2.03 ERA)
Sunday, May 15th: Marlins vs Nationals -1:35 (MASN2, WUSA 9, WJFK)
Probable Pitchers: Jose Fernandez (4-2, 3.54 ERA) vs Joe Ross (3-2, 2.29 ERA)
Here's the Nationals' lineup for the series opener with the Marlins: