Struggling Marlins try to avoid sweep by Nationals

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Field Level Media
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Aug 22, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; Miami Marlins designated hitter Jorge Soler (12) hits a home run against the San Diego Padres during the third inning at Petco Park.
Aug 22, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; Miami Marlins designated hitter Jorge Soler (12) hits a home run against the San Diego Padres during the third inning at Petco Park.
Image: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

It's not hard to figure out what's wrong with the Miami Marlins, who are 2-8 in their past 10 games.

Since the All-Star break and entering Saturday, the Marlins ranked last in the National League with a .199 batting average with runners in scoring position. Including the American League, only the Oakland A's (.195) have been worse during that span.

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"It's not a lack of effort," Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. "Everybody is giving everything they got."

Before the All-Star break, the Marlins were hitting .266 with runners on base. On Sunday, the visiting Washington Nationals will go for a three-game sweep of the struggling Marlins.

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The Nationals, who until recently had spent most of this season in last place in the National League East, have won five straight series. The Nationals are 11-3 during that span, including 16-7 in August.

"Our confidence is really good right now," Washington manager Dave Martinez said, "and that's a big factor. Our young guys are starting to understand how to play the game. Everything is going well right now. I'm proud of our guys."

As for the Marlins, it surely would help if the rest of the squad could replicate the power of Jorge Soler.

He hit his 34th home run of the season on Saturday in a game the Marlins lost 3-2. Soler's homer, in the eighth, gave Miami a 2-1 lead, but the Marlins allowed two runs in the ninth.

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Unfortunately for Miami, closer David Robertson, who blew a save chance on Saturday, is struggling. In his past three outings, he is 0-2 with one save and two blown saves, allowing five runs (four earned) in three innings.

On Sunday, the Marlins are expected to turn to a series of relievers in a bullpen game, starting with right-hander JT Chargois (1-0, 3.56 ERA). He'll make his first start of the season and most recently pitched Friday against the Nationals, throwing 12 pitches in one no-hit inning.

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In his career, he's made four relief appearances against Washington, giving up three hits in four scoreless innings.

The Nationals, meanwhile, will start right-hander Trevor Williams (6-7, 4.95) on Sunday.

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Williams is in his eighth major league season and on his fourth team. His career numbers include a 44-51 record and a 4.37 ERA. His best season came in 2018 when he was 14-10 with a 3.11 ERA.

Since then, he is nine games under .500.

This year, the Nationals are 13-12 when using Williams, who has four quality starts on the season. His most recent outing was perhaps his best this year as he allowed a season-low two hits and no runs in six innings against the Philadelphia Phillies last Sunday.

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In 11 career games (six starts) against the Marlins, Williams is 1-2 with a 4.46 ERA. He has never won a game in Miami, going 0-2 in four outings, including one start.

Offensively, right fielder Lane Thomas leads the Nationals in average (.284), homers (20) and runs (86). He is also the co-leader in doubles (31) and second in RBIs (69) and steals (16).

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—Field Level Media