The Washington Nationals (15-13) set to play host to the Florida Marlins (13-15) at Nats Park this weekend. The Nationals will be out for revenge after the club dropped two-out-of-three against the Fish in Miami to start off the month of May. The lost series provided an extra sting as it was the only one the Nationals have dropped against a team not named the Phillies all season.
The Nationals, who struggled against the Marlins to start the month, have seemingly found their stride after taking two-of-three from the Braves this week. Washington has showed significant heart as they continue to play winning baseball despite injuries to their two top starters.
The Marlins on the other hand got reeled in by the Giants after their strong series against Washington. The Fish continue to search for their identity as a talented young team that has yet to figure out how to win this season. With young hitters like Hanley Ramirez, Jorge Cantu, and Dan Uggla the club should have enough firepower to support their top starters Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. The club will look to turn it around as they start their road trip in Washington.
Marlins Last Series
The Marlins ran head first into the division leading San Francisco Giants this week, getting swept in three straight games. The young fish just couldn't handle the Giants pitching. They lost their first game 6-9 on Tuesday after striking out 13 times against reigning Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. Wednesday they fell 2-3 after former Cy Young award winner Barry Zito shut them down to one run over seven innings. And they lost on Thursday after Matt Cain held them to four hits and two runs in seven innings pitched.
In total the Marlins struck out 35 times in the three game series, while only picking up 23 hits. The Marlins pitchign staff did their job, but the bats were just flat out overmatched.
Hanley Ramirez: 4-12, 2 HR
Jorge Cantu: 0-16, 5K, 1 BB
Fri., May 7: Chris Volstad (2-2, 4.45) vs. Craig Stammen (1-1, 6.75)
Sat., May 8: TBD (-) vs. TBD (-)
Sun., May 9: Anibal Sanchez (1-2, 4.06) vs. Livan Hernandez (4-1, 0.99)
Matt Chico to make his return? But Why?
Bill Ladson reports that the Nationals are leaning towards bringing up former major leaguer Matt Chico to replace John Lannan in the rotation this Saturday. Lannan is taking a start off due to an inflamed elbow.
Chico, a former third round draft pick rose from obscurity to be one of the Nationals best starting pitchers in 2007. The then 24-year-old started 31 games with a 7-9 record and a 4.63 ERA. While Chico never had overpowering stuff, he was able to make outs frequently in 2007 before leaving with Tommy John surgery in 2008. He has yet to pitch again in the majors.
While the Nationals may view this as a temporary fix to a roughed up rotation, Chico is hardly a long term solution. Despite his average 4.63 ERA in 2008, Chico had a 5.56 FIP that same year, indicating he likely was benefitted by a good defense and perhaps a little bit of luck. Before injury his fastball sat at a steady 85.5 MPH and his curveball only 72.5.
So far in AA this season Chico is 2-4 with a 4.29 ERA. Can the Nationals, who are in contention for the NL East, really afford to let Chico start a game at the major league level at this point?