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Washington Nationals vs Miami Marlins Series Preview: Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer lead Nats into Miami

The Washington Nationals have seen their two most prominent players in Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer leading the way for their first-place club over the past few weeks.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (42-27) vs. Marlins (30-37) Series Info:

Game 1: Monday, June 19 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Tuesday, June 20 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Wednesday, June 21 at 12:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Monday: Tanner Roark (6-4, 4.39 ERA) vs. Justin Nicolino (0-1, 4.15)

Tuesday: Gio Gonzalez (6-1, 2.89) vs. Edinson Volquez (3-7, 3.72)

Wednesday: Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.26) vs. Dan Straily (5-4, 3.58)

What to watch for:

Bryce Harper looks to continue hitting streak

After matching a career high Sunday by picking up a hit in his 11th straight game, Bryce Harper sits with a .318/.422/.605 slash line on the year.

While the power hasn’t been on full display as of late — Harper has just two homers in his last 18 games — he’s been able to consistently get on base ahead of Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy.

The longest hitting streak in the majors this season belongs to the Kansas City RoyalsWhit Merrifield, who was able to get one up to 19 before it was snapped June 4.

Max Scherzer continues to amaze

Forget the streak of four straight starts with double-digit strikeouts; forget the MLB-best 0.843 WHIP and 12.1 K/9; forget the two Cy Young Awards, two no-hitters and 20-strikeout game.

Max Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in the sport because of his fierce competitiveness that makes him even better when it matters most.

For proof of that fact, look no further than the final pitch he threw in his last start against the New York Mets: Scherzer whipped a nasty 87 mph slider for his 118th pitch of the night under the bat of Yoenis Cespedes to conclude an 11-pitch battle that got him through eight innings and gave him his 10th strikeout of the game.

Appreciate what Scherzer does every five days, Nats fans. There aren’t many quite like him.

There’s no place like home

The Marlins haven’t been able to hang around in the standings like they hoped entering the season, but they’ve been tough to beat at their home ballpark over the last month.

Since being swept by the Houston Astros on May 13, Miami is 10-2 within the confines of Marlins Park.

The Nationals, on the other hand, have been just as effective on the road. Washington enters the game 11-3 in its last 14 games away from Nats Park.

Who to watch out for: Justin Bour

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows just how talented the Marlins’ outfield can be, but first baseman Justin Bour has made his presence known with an impressive breakout season.

Bour was activated off the disabled list last week after missing nine games with an ankle injury, but he’s picked up right where he left off with at least a hit and an RBI in each of his first three games since returning to the lineup.

While his career splits against the Nationals are modest, he’s transformed into a new hitter this season and boasts a career-high 46.7 hard-hit rate — making him poised to punish any pitcher that leaves balls up in the zone.