|Marlins go for 7th straight as they face Nats|
The Miami Marlins go for their seventh straight win when they open a four-game homestand against the fading Washington Nationals.
Picked to finish at opposite ends of the National League East, the teams enter Friday tied in the loss column after Washington dropped its fifth straight game on Thursday, when the New York Mets staged an eighth-inning rally to complete a four-game sweep with a 6-4 win.
The Nationals fell 12 games under .500 for the first time since the final day of the 2010 season, and the future of second-year manager Davey Martinez (101-111 record with Washington) is in the balance. Mistakes in the field and on the bases, combined with an ineffective bullpen, have put the Nationals' season on the brink before Memorial Day.
The Marlins, meanwhile, will look to continue their magic behind right-hander Pablo Lopez (3-5, 5.06), who dominated those Mets in his last start. After giving up 10 runs over three innings in a loss to the Mets in New York on May 10, the 23-year-old rebounded to allow one hit over seven shutout innings in the best start of his career.
Lopez, who allowed a hit to the first batter he faced and none after, struck out seven with two walks.
"That was a great response," Marlins manager Don Mattingly told MLB.com. "You find out what a guy is made of, because he took a beating there in New York. Nothing went right. There was two ways to go. Either he was going to come out and pitch like he was afraid of those guys, or he was going to be aggressive."
Lopez is 0-1 with a 7.59 ERA in two career starts versus Washington.
The Nationals will try to end their skid behind right-hander Kyle McGowin (0-0, 6.00) who gets a spot start in place of the injured Jeremy Hellickson.
McGowin, 27, has pitched in six major league games in two seasons and has a 5.91 ERA while striking out 11 batters in 10 2/3 innings.
He'll face a Marlins lineup that extended the team's longest winning streak since 2016 in dramatic fashion against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday as Garrett Cooper's two-out ninth-inning grand slam propelled Miami to a 5-2 win.
Tyler Kinley (1-0) gave up one run in the eighth and got the win. Sergio Romo earned his ninth save with a perfect ninth.
"We'll see where it goes. As bad as it looks one day, it looks great six days later," Mattingly told the Miami Herald. "Stay humble, keep working and just try to ride it as long as we can."
On Thursday, the Nationals appeared on the verge of the kind of win that can spark a team. Trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning, they scored three runs to take a 4-3 lead with Martinez thrown out in the process for arguing a check-swing strike-three call against Howie Kendrick.
However, Carlos Gomez's three-run homer off reliever Wander Suero in the eighth gave the Mets their third straight win in their last turn at bat.
The Nationals went 1-for-11 while losing to a New York team playing without regulars Robinson Cano, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo in a game started by Stephen Strasburg.
"You can't put a blame on one thing," Martinez told MASNSports.com. "This is, I've always said, this is a team thing. And when we lose, we lose together. And when we win, we win together. And that's the bottom line."
--Field Level Media