|Streaking Nationals, Strasburg take aim at Marlins|
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will seek to continue his career-long dominance of the Miami Marlins when he and the Washington Nationals chase a series sweep on Thursday night.
Nationals starting pitching has overpowered the Marlins in the first two games of the three-game set, with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin combining to allow just two runs on eight hits in 15 innings during 6-1 and 7-5 wins, respectively.
Strasburg (8-4, 3.79 ERA) has a good chance to continue the trend, as he is 18-7 against Miami with a 2.88 ERA in 32 career starts.
The 18 wins are five more than the 30-year-old has against any other team.
The leader in wins against a single opponent among active pitchers is Seattle's Felix Hernandez, who has beaten the Oakland Athletics 26 times.
Strasburg has enjoyed much of his success at Miami, where he has gone 10-5 between Dolphin Stadium and Marlins Park. He is the only active pitcher with eight or more wins in his career as a Marlins Park visitor.
Strasburg was at his best in a 5-0 win over the Marlins on April 21, allowing two hits and two walks in eight innings. He struck out a season-high-tying 11 in the 5-0 win.
Help might be on its way for the Marlins, but it surely won't arrive in time for Thursday's matchup with Strasburg.
First-round pick JJ Bleday completed his collegiate career as an NCAA champion on Wednesday night in Vanderbilt's win over Michigan. The outfielder, who hit 27 home runs on the season, was the No. 4 overall pick of this month's draft.
Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill told reporters he looks forward to the day he can make Bleday, who has yet to sign with Miami, available to his club's manager.
"I think it would make sense for any young player we drafted to start their professional career as soon as possible," Hill said. "The sooner you sign, the sooner you get your professional career started, and you're one day closer to being in the big leagues."
Strasburg will be opposed in the series finale by Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara (4-6, 3.51 ERA), who already was the victim of the Nationals' impressive frontline pitching earlier this season.
The 23-year-old was on the losing end of a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Corbin in May, allowing five runs (four earned) in five innings. A three-run double by Yan Gomes was the big blow of the game.
Alcantara is 0-3 in his career against the Nationals with a 9.00 ERA in three starts.
Like the Marlins, the Nationals await the addition of a big bat with the news that slugger Ryan Zimmerman is expected to be reinstated from the injured list later this week while Washington plays at Detroit.
Zimmerman was scheduled to complete an injury-rehab assignment in the minors on Wednesday night.
"He felt good," Nationals manager Dave Martinez told the media regarding the report from the minors. "He made some good defensive plays. He says he's progressing well. He said the baseball soreness is getting out of him now. He's getting used to playing again, so that's good news."
Zimmerman is trying to recover from from plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
--Field Level Media