Series: Game 3 of 4

Washington leads 2-1 (as of 9/27)

Game 1: Friday, September 26
Game 2: Friday, September 26
Game 3: Saturday, September 27
Game 4: Sunday, September 28

Marlins 1

(77-84, 35-45 away)

Nationals 5

(95-66, 50-30 home)

    Coverage:  MASN

    4:05 PM ET, September 27, 2014

    Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. 

    123456789 R H E
    MIA 000000001 1 4 0
    WSH 01001003 - 5 11 2

    W: S. Strasburg (14-11)

    L: N. Eovaldi (6-14)

    Marlins-Nationals Preview


    When the Washington Nationals headed into the playoffs with the NL's best record two years ago, they did so without Stephen Strasburg after he was shut down due to an innings limit.

    Strasburg has no restrictions this season, and he's pitching as well as ever heading into Saturday's final postseason tuneup against the visiting Miami Marlins.

    Coming off Tommy John surgery, Strasburg was shut down toward the end of the 2012 regular season despite going 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and helping the Nationals win a franchise-record 98 games.

    Washington, though, was eliminated in five games by St. Louis in the division series without its ace. The Nationals (94-66) again will have home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs in 2014, as well as a healthy Strasburg (13-11, 3.23 ERA).

    The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA over his last five starts after allowing three hits in seven scoreless innings of a 2-1 win over the Marlins on Sunday. He's struck out 33 in 33 2/3 innings during that stretch while walking only two -- both against Miami.

    "The way he is throwing right now, that's the way that everybody wants to see him," catcher Jose Lobaton said.

    Simply having Strasburg pitch in the postseason surely will be a welcome sight for the Nationals, who clinched the NL's best record with a 4-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader with the Marlins on Friday.

    The NL East champs dropped the second game 15-7, though Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos were the only two regulars in the lineup after taking the first game off. Werth finished a homer shy of the cycle.

    "It's important to have home-field advantage. If we want to get to where we want to get to, then that's important. So that's accomplished," rookie manager Matt Williams said. "I also think it's really important for us to play really well (against Miami) and continue to push and play with some enthusiasm and determination, because that light switch just doesn't turn on and off."

    Strasburg is 2-2 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this season and opposed Nathan Eovaldi on Sunday. This contest will feature the same matchup, as Eovaldi (6-13, 4.44) looks to avoid a career worst for defeats.

    Miami has lost Eovaldi's last eight starts after he gave up two runs in six innings against the Nationals. The right-hander has received only four runs of support in 41 2/3 innings in that stretch, but he hasn't done himself any favors by going 0-7 with a 6.05 ERA.

    "I still had that rough inning in the fifth, (but) I was able to bounce back," Eovaldi said. "I was able to move the ball to both sides of the plate, and use my offspeed pitches."

    Eovaldi is 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA in three starts against the Nationals this season, and he hopes the Marlins' offense can have a similar performance to Friday's second game.

    Miami (77-83) fell victim to Doug Fister's three-hitter in the opener, but it bounced back with a season-best scoring output after plating two runs or fewer in seven of its previous eight.

    Kike Hernandez hit a pinch-hit grand slam, J.T. Realmuto had four RBIs in his 10th major league game and Adeiny Hechavarria had four of the Marlins' season-best 22 hits.

    Miami's victory ended a six-game losing streak to the Nationals.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakL2W2
    Last 103-78-2

    Pitching Matchup

    N. Eovaldi
    6-14, 4.37 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at WSH
    7.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Loss
    S. Strasburg
    14-11, 3.14 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 vs MIA
    6.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    1. C. Yelich, LF D. Span, CF
    2. D. Solano, 2B A. Rendon, 3B
    3. C. McGehee, 3B J. Werth, RF
    4. J. Bour, 1B A. LaRoche, 1B
    5. E. Hernandez, CF I. Desmond, SS
    6. J. Valdespin, RF B. Harper, LF
    7. A. Hechavarria, SS W. Ramos, C
    8. J. Mathis, C A. Cabrera, 2B
    9. N. Eovaldi, P S. Strasburg, P

    Research Notes

    Stephen Strasburg has allowed a .155 batting average in at-bats to end in a changeup this season, which is the fourth-lowest rate among qualified pitchers this season. Christian Yelich has a .151 batting average in at-bats to end in a changeup this season, which is the fourth-lowest batting average among qualified hitters in the National League.

    ESPN Stats & Information