MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Gio Gonzalez will have a tough, if not impossible, act to follow when he takes the mound for the Washington Nationals on Friday night in the opener of a four-game series versus the visiting Miami Marlins.
The Nationals rebounded from a four-game sweep versus the Chicago Cubs by taking two of three against Detroit, capped by Max Scherzer’s 20-strikeout gem.
Washington and Miami have split six meetings this season, although Gonzalez has yet to pitch in the season series. His counterpart in the series opener, Tom Koehler, will be facing the Nationals for the third time this season and hoping that Bryce Harper decides to drop his appeal of a one-game suspension for cursing an umpire following his ejection earlier in the week. Harper has been a nemesis for Koehler, going 9-for-28 with six homeruns and 11 RBIs. The Marlins took two of three against Milwaukee earlier this week to close out a 6-3 homestand.
PITCHING: Marlins Tom Koehler (2-3, 5.83 ERA) vs. Nationals Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.19)
Koehler is coming off his best outing, going seven innings for the first time and striking out a season-high eight batters, but he was saddled with a no-decision despite allowing one run on two hits versus Philadelphia. He was hammered in his previous turn in Milwaukee, getting tagged for eight runs on eight hits in a season-low 2 1/3 innings. Koehler limited the Nationals to one run over five innings on April 21 and gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings 11 days earlier.
Gonzalez is coming off his first clunker of the year after he was knocked around for five runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Cubs. That total represented one more run than Gonzalez had surrendered in his previous starts combined and came on the heels of six scoreless innings of four-hit ball in Kansas City. Gonzalez is 6-3 with a 2.38 ERA lifetime against the Marlins and has held slugger Giancarlo Stanton to four hits in 16 at-bats.
1. Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy has multiple hits in four straight games and seven of his last 10 to boost his batting average to .409.
2. Marlins CF Marcell Ozuna is riding an 11-game hitting streak.
3. Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon showed signs of emerging from his slump, going 4-for-9 in his last two games versus Detroit.
PREDICTION: Nationals 4, Marlins 3
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