Series Preview: Marlins at Nationals

The Marlins are the hottest team in the National League and will try to keep things going in the nation's capital

The Miami Marlins will bring the National League's longest active winning streak into a series with the Washington Nationals on Friday.

Miami has won six games in a row and has completed two straight sweeps. The winning streak is the longest of the season for the Marlins and it has improved the team's record to 16-31 on the season. Miami still remains in last place in the division, but it no longer has the worst record in baseball.

Pablo Lopez will be Miami's starting pitcher for the series opener on Friday. Lopez hurled seven innings of one-hit ball his last time out, which was his finest outing of the season. Lopez is 3-5 and has two quality starts in his last three chances. The right-hander lowered his E.R.A 5.06 with his last start, after it was inflated in a ten-run outing.

Sandy Alcantara put together a complete game shutout last time and will next start Saturday's game. Alcantara has been inconsistent this season, but he also has two of Miami's best starts in 2019. The right-hander allowed only two hits in his dominant outing against the New York Mets and he struck out a season-high eight in the contest.

Caleb Smith has continued to pile up big strikeout numbers, but his efficiency has taken a step back in recent outings. After posting six consecutive quality starts, Smith has been unable to work six innings his last two times out. The lefty continues to lead Miami with his 2.38 E.R.A. and will likely be the team's All-Star representative in Cleveland. Smith will start for Miami on Sunday afternoon.

Jose Urena has turned his season around in a big way and is showing why he was Miami's Opening Day starter. Urena has lowered his E.R.A from 10.38 to 4.30 and has hurled three straight quality starts. Urena is 2-6 on the season, but could easily have a few more victories. The right-hander has been a victim of poor run support, which is an issue that has plagued Miami's other starters as well. Urena will start Monday's series finale for the Marlins.

Miami's offense has come alive recently and some new names have been involved in that progress. Garrett Cooper crushed his first two home runs of the season in the series with Detroit, including a game-winning grand slam on Thursday. Cooper was seen as a potential big source of power when the season began, but he has battled injuries all year long. If Cooper can stay healthy, Miami's lineup could continue to post more consistent production.

Harold Ramirez has also helped Miami's offense improve, following some strong work in AAA. Since joining Miami's lineup in the big leagues, Ramirez has hit .296, with a .321 on-base percentage. Ramirez also homered in Detroit and he should continue to see consistent playing time going forward.

The series in Washington, D.C. will begin on Friday at 7:05 p.m.

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