Game 1: Monday, July 31 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)
Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)
Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)
Monday: Gio Gonzalez (8-5, 2.81 ERA) vs. Jose Urena (9-4, 4.04)
Tuesday: Max Scherzer (12-5, 2.23) vs. Chris O’Grady (2-1, 3.68)
Wednesday: TBA vs. Vance Worley (0-2, 6.42)
What to watch for:
Can Sean Doolittle or Brandon Kintzler handle the ninth?
Sean Doolittle has been the Nats’ closer since being acquired from Oakland earlier this month and is 3-for-3 in save opportunities in five appearances, but he’s posted a 7.20 ERA and made things interesting when converting his first two saves.
Right at the 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, the Nats acquired All-Star Brandon Kintzler from the Twins to solidify the back end of their bullpen.
Between Doolittle’s up-and-down appearances and Kintzler’s low strikeouts numbers, it’s not clear who will be handling ninth inning duties moving forward.
Regardless, the duo combined with Madson gives Washington flexibility in the late innings that it didn’t have before.
New guy provides some relief for the bench
Nats fans, you remember Howie Kendrick? The guy who hit .333 against Washington for the Dodgers in last year’s NLDS?
Well he’s the newest member of the Nationals organization, acquired to add some depth both in the infield and outfield while Trea Turner, Jayson Werth and Michael Taylor work their way back from injury.
Kendrick battled abdominal and hamstring injuries earlier this season that each landed him on the disabled list, but when healthy he hits for a high average and can play several defensive positions.
Miami providing the heat offensively
It’s not very surprising to see Colorado at the top of the National League leaderboard for the most runs scored (148) in the month of July, but right behind them are the Miami Marlins with 139.
Powered by the resurgence of Giancarlo Stanton and J.T. Realmuto’s breakout season, the Marlins are scoring plenty of runs despite the front office wheeling and dealing at the trade deadline.
The Nats are throwing their two best starting pitchers this season right at them in the first two games of the series, but it will be a tall order to silence these Marlins bats.
Who to watch out for: J.T. Realmuto
He may not have been an All-Star this season, but J.T. Realmuto has quietly been one of the best hitters on the Marlins despite their star-studded outfield.
Realmuto has been particularly effective against Nationals pitching, boasting a .476/.522/.905 line with five extra-base hits in 21 at-bats against them.
Stanton and Marcell Ozuna will garner the most attention, but Realmuto is quickly making a name for himself in Miami.