MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A pair of hot pitchers stymied the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals hitters during their series opening battle on Monday.
The two teams who have been two of the best in the National League since late May will go at it again on Tuesday at Marlins Park.
The division-leading Nationals hold a comfortable 14-game lead over second place Miami, who were once as low as 13 games below .500 before turning things around.
Washington acquired All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler from the Minnesota Twins before Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. He joins recent additions Ryan Madsen and Sean Doolittle in a suddenly formidable bullpen for the Nats.
That is quite the change from most of this season in which the bullpen has been a major weakness for the otherwise stacked Nationals.
GAME INFO: First pitch 7:10 PM, Marlins Park
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (12-5, 2.23 ERA) vs. Marlins LHP Chris O’Grady (2-1, 3.68)
Scherzer is enjoying a Cy Young-quality season, leading the NL in strikeouts (201), batting average against (.170), opponent OPS (.548) and innings pitched (145 1/3).
During his last start, a win over Milwaukee, Scherzer recorded his 200th strikeout of the season.
He has gone 4-0 in the six starts since he last faced Miami. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the eighth inning that day, but Washington ended up losing 2-1 when the Marlins rallied against the righty.
O’Grady is coming off the best start of his brief MLB career, tossing seven scoreless innings while striking out five in a victory against Cincinnati.
He has been especially good against left-handed hitters, holding them to just four hits in 28 at bats.
The 27-year-old out of George Mason will look to continue pitching well in the hopes of earning a steady job in the majors.
ROUNDING THE BASES
- The Marlins hold the all-time edge against the Nationals/Expos franchise with a 210-189 record. Miami also has a 119-107 record against the Nats since they moved to D.C. in 2005.
- Dee Godron has an eleven-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .346 with a home run, 11 runs scored, two RBIs and six stolen bases.
- Christian Yelich has had the most success of any Marlins hitter against Scherzer, holding a .350 average in 20 at-bats with two homers and four RBIs.
- In six starts at Marlins Park, Scherzer has a 4-2 record with a shiny 2.11 ERA.