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Washington Nationals’ lineup for series opener with the Marlins in Miami...

Washington and Miami meet for the first time in 2019 in this weekend’s three-game set in Marlins Park...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

While Washington’s Nationals did manage to take 2 of 3 from the San Francisco Giants with Thursday’s 4-2 win in the series finale, they could have made things easier on themselves if they were able to do better than going 1 for 11 with nine left on base in the third of three in D.C.

“We could have put this game away early,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters after his team wrapped up a 3-3 homestand, “and we’ve just got to get better — man on third base, less than two outs, we’ve got to start knocking runs in like we did early, like we did in Spring Training.”

[ed. note - “The Nationals do actually have a .321 AVG with a runner on 3rd and less than two outs, good for the 8th best AVG in the National League in those situations so far this season, with their 26 RBIs in those at bats the 6th-most amongst the 15 NL teams.”]

“Those runs count and they matter,” Martinez added, “and like I said, if we’re going to pull this off, those little things matter, so it will be talked about with the guys, but we’ve got to start driving those runs in.”

What sort of changes does the second-year skipper want to see from his hitters?

“They’re working good at bats,” Martinez said, “... but just moving the ball, moving the ball with less than two outs and a man on third base. But other than that, the at bats have been good ... we’re knocking guys out, we’re building up pitch counts early with starters, but if we knock in a couple runs with bases loaded right there, this game changes quickly.”

Yan Gomes actually walked to force in a run with the bases loaded in the 5th on Thursday, but both Ryan Zimmerman (who struck out with the the bases full before Gomes walked), and Brian Dozier (who popped out with the bases full after the free pass to Gomes), failed to capitalize on their opportunities.

The Nationals also failed to take advantage of a first-and-third, no-out opportunity in the eighth, when they had a chance to add some insurance runs to their two-run lead.

While they struggled with runners in scoring position on Thursday, the Nats, as a team, have hit well in those situations so far, with their .299 AVG with RISP currently the second-best in the NL, and their AVG with RISP and two outs (.319) tied for the National League’s best mark after 17 games.

Will they keep it going against the Marlins this weekend in Miami?