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Koehler, Marlins Look To Avoid Series Sweep Vs. Nats

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (SportsDirect Inc.) — Daniel Murphy is off to a good start in showing his stellar debut season with the Washington Nationals was not an anomaly.

The Nationals wrap up a three-game home series Thursday against the Miami Marlins having won the first two matchups, and Murphy – who hit .347 in finishing as the runner-up for National League MVP a season ago – has recorded two hits and one RBI in each victory.

Six Washington starters reached base multiple times in Wednesday’s 6-4 victory, including newly acquired catcher Matt Wieters (three hits) and new center fielder Adam Eaton (a double and a walk).

Miami will look for starter Tom Koehler to provide innings in his season debut after the Marlins bullpen worked 5 2/3 innings Wednesday.

Four Miami relievers allowed just one run on five hits after Dan Straily surrendered five runs on six hits. Catcher J.T. Realmuto, who led the NL in road batting average last season (.352), followed up his two-hit performance in the season opener with his first homer of the year Wednesday.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), MASN (Washington), MLB Network

PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Tom Koehler (2016: 9-13, 4.33 ERA) vs. Nationals LH Gio Gonzalez (2016: 11-11, 4.57)

Koehler was 9-8 with a 3.82 ERA through his first 25 starts before fading badly down the stretch, losing his final five decisions with a 6.21 ERA and 10 homers allowed in his last 37 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old pitched really well in his victories (0.89 WHIP, three homers allowed in 56 innings) and really poor in his defeats (2.08 WHIP, 12 homers allowed in 61 innings). Koehler, who gave up 18 hits and walked nine in 17 1/3 innings this spring, went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts in 2016 against Washington.

Gonzalez struggled at times in the first half of 2016 before winning six of his final nine decisions, but his ERA rose by nearly one run a game while allowing 19 homers (after surrendering just eight in 2015). The 31-year-old gave up five runs in his final spring training appearance but otherwise had a strong camp, posting a 2.74 ERA. Gonzalez gave up two unearned runs in five innings in his only appearance against the Marlins last season.

WALK-OFFS

1. Washington 3B Anthony Rendon, who missed the season opener, went 0-for-4 Wednesday.

2. Miami 3B Martin Prado, who strained his right hamstring during the World Baseball Classic, has resumed baseball activities and could be activated from the disabled list next weekend.

3. Washington closer Blake Treinen, who entered the season with one career save, gave up a ninth-inning run Wednesday but nailed down his second save.

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