MLB Preview 2012: Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins

The Washington Nationals (51-35) and Miami Marlins (42-46) will close out a four-game National League East series on Monday night at Marlins Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET

Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins 

The Washington Nationals have won two of three against the Miami Marlins in this series

Washington was very lucky to capture a 4-0 victory over Miami on Sunday afternoon, but its division rival is having a very hard time scoring runs at this time.  The Nationals have outscored the Marlins 10-3 in winning two of three in this series, but have received very little in terms of production from rookie All-Star Bryce Harper.  He has gone 1 for 12 at the plate in this series.  Washington is 7-4 as a road favorite of -125 to -150, with the “over” going 6-4 in that situation.

Nationals starting pitcher Edwin Jackson (5-4, 3.73 ERA) has watched the club alternate wins and losses over his last five outings, coming away with a 9-4 home win over the San Francisco Giants last time out.  The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.79 ERA in nine road outings, surrendering eight home runs in 54.2 combined innings.  Jackson was handed a 3-1 loss at this ballpark on May 29, giving up just two runs (one earned) and five hits over 6.2 frames.

Miami was facing one of the league’s top pitchers on Sunday, but was unable to cash in on numerous opportunities, going 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.  “That’s the reason we lost,” commented Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.  “I think we had a golden opportunity.”  The Marlins are hitting just .213 and have struck out 30 times in the first three games of this important set, going 4 for 26 in the aforementioned situation at the plate.  Miami is 13-15 against divisional foes this year.

Marlins starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano (4-7, 4.20 ERA) has watched the club drop his last six starts, with the offense providing just 18 runs of support over that span.  The right-hander is 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA in seven home outings, issuing 24 walks and striking out 27 batters in 39 frames.  In 17 career games (14 starts) versus the Nationals, Zambrano has compiled a 9-4 record and 3.26 ERA, including a 5-3 home win on May 28.

Sports bettors will likely back the Nationals due to their 5-0 mark as an underdog, while the Marlins are 2-5 in Zambrano’s last seven home efforts.

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