Major League Baseball
Preview
Washington at Miami
When: 7:10 PM ET, Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Where: Marlins Park, Miami, Florida

The Miami Marlins are well back of the Washington Nationals in the standings but they have made things awfully tough on the National League East leaders this season. Miami has won five of seven meetings against the Nationals, including all four at home, entering Wednesday's middle contest of the three-game series at Marlins Park.

Washington dropped to 4-7 since the All-Star break following Tuesday's 4-1 setback to Miami and saw its lead atop the NL East trimmed to one game over the New York Mets. The Nationals made a huge deal Tuesday night, acquiring closer Jonathan Papelbon from Philadelphia to fortify the back end of the bullpen. Ryan Zimmerman (2-for-3) and Jayson Werth (1-for-4) both returned to the lineup Tuesday following lengthy stays on the disabled list. Second baseman Dee Gordon also came off the DL for the Marlins and collected a pair of hits to boost his batting average to .341.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSN Florida (Miami)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Doug Fister (3-6, 4.50 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Tom Koehler (8-6, 3.16)

Fister has struggled in four starts this month, going 0-3 and allowing four runs in each of the losses while failing to pitch beyond five innings in his last two turns. Opposing batters have a .307 average against Fister, who has been touched for 33 hits over 22 innings during his four-start dry spell. Fister has an outstanding track record against the Marlins, going 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four career appearances (three starts).

Koehler turned in his sixth consecutive quality start last time out, blanking San Diego on three hits while matching his season high with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Koehler, who has made four straight starts on the road, split a pair of decisions against the Nationals this season. The 29-year-old New York native is 4-1 with a 1.68 ERA at home this season, including 7 1/3 scoreless innings versus Washington on April 25.

WALK-OFFS

1. Nationals SS Ian Desmond had his seven-game hitting streak halted in the series opener.

2. Marlins 3B Martin Prado collected three hits Tuesday and has hit safely in all seven games versus Washington this season.

3. Papelbon is the only player to record at least 200 saves in one league (219, Boston) and 100 saves in another league (123, Philadelphia).

PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Marlins 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Washington 52-46 L2 28-19 24-27 25-17 10-16 9-4 8-9
Miami 42-58 W1 25-23 17-35 15-20 7-12 15-16 5-10
Last Meeting
Washington Miami
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/28/15 WAS 1 MIA 4 .233 0 .668 .367 0 .862
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington Y. Escobar .417 10 .917
Miami D. Gordon .500 15 1.165
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 4 5 8
Miami G. Stanton 2 7 6
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 4.73 .230 59
Miami 2.80 .312 48
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington B. Harper .330 103 1.130
Miami D. Gordon .341 124 .782
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 27 65 64
Miami G. Stanton 27 47 67
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 3.64 .252 769
Miami 3.68 .255 709