Is the window of opportunity closing on the Washington Nationals? They’ve been to the MLB playoffs three times in the last five years, but the Nats have yet to win a series, let alone the World Series. Washington (95-67, +0.27 betting units last year) begins the 2017 campaign at home with a three-game set versus the Miami Marlins. MLB Network has Thursday’s finale starting at 4:05 PM ET.
The Marlins (79-82, 0 –6.11 units) have lower expectations than Washington for 2017. They lost ace pitcher Jose Fernandez in a fatal boating accident last September, but the Marlins do have a collection of serviceable starters – including Tom Koehler (4.60 FIP), who’s scheduled to take the mound on Thursday. However, current Washington batters have a combined .870 career OPS off Koehler, and OF Bryce Harper (.814 OPS) is 11-of-32 lifetime with six homeruns and a 1.385 OPS.
Gio Gonzalez (3.76 FIP) is projected to start for the Nationals. He’s fallen to third in the rotation after a sketchy 2016 season that saw Washington go 14-18 in his 32 starts for a loss of 10.52 units. However, current Marlins hitters have managed only a .696 lifetime OPS versus the veteran southpaw.