The Miami Marlins can’t afford to waste time if they want to end their playoff drought.
They will look for a second consecutive win over the host Washington Nationals on Friday after taking the opener of a four-game set 6-1 on Thursday.
“We knew coming into this series it would be big,” Marlins designated hitter Jake Burger said. “Now we’re flipping the page on August, going into September. Obviously from here on out, every single game is huge.”
The Marlins got six innings of one-run ball from Braxton Garrett on Thursday en route to just their fourth victory in 14 games.
For a team struggling on offense, Miami’s 13 hits seemed like a breakthrough. Eight players had at least one hit.
“It was a good day overall up and down the lineup,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said.
The Nationals have lost four of their past five, posting a total of five runs in the four defeats.
“We got to get ready early and stay on the fastball and start hitting the ball and stay in the middle of the field,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. “Other than the last two days, we’ve been playing well, so let’s come back (Friday) and play our game.”
Martinez decried the Nationals‘ failure to draw walks, as the team has managed a total of three free passes over the past two games. In the Thursday loss and a 7-0 defeat at Toronto on Wednesday, Washington amassed a total of one run and eight hits.
Burger hit his 28th homer in the ninth inning on Thursday, ending a 10-game stretch without a long ball nor an RBI. This came after he was hit by a Joan Adon pitch on his elbow earlier in the game.
“It will be sore, but nothing I can’t get through,” Burger said.
Two rookie pitchers who have pitched well in numerous no-decisions recently are scheduled to take the mound on Friday.
The Nationals will start right-hander Jake Irvin (3-5, 4.30 ERA). He has gone six consecutive starts without a decision, though Washington won five of those games.
Irvin gave up just one run in 12 innings in his past two games combined. His most recent start came on Saturday, when he allowed one run in six innings at Miami.
Irvin also had a no-decision against the Marlins on June 17, when he limited them to one run in five innings.
Right-hander Eury Perez (5-4, 2.68 ERA) will be on the mound for the Marlins in a bid for his first victory since June 25. He is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA in his past six starts, but 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his past three outings.
Perez has started twice this season against the Nationals, going 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA.
He wasn’t the pitcher of record Saturday against Washington, giving up one unearned run in six innings while striking out seven. In the outing before that, he blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers for six innings and fanned 10. On May 18, he picked up his first victory of the season by holding the Nationals to one run and three hits in five innings.
The Marlins are 4-0 this year in games in Washington.
—Field Level Media
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