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Major League Baseball
Preview
Washington at Miami
When: 12:10 PM ET, Thursday, July 30, 2015
Where: Marlins Park, Miami, Florida

Max Scherzer attempts to bounce back from one of his worst starts of the season when he takes the mound for the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series against the Marlins in Miami. Bryce Harper belted a pair of home runs to take over the National League lead with 29 as the Nationals leveled the series at a game apiece with a 7-2 victory Wednesday.

Harper has belted 15 home runs in 54 career games against the Marlins, including six this season. Washington improved to 2-4 on its 10-game road trip to move two games ahead of the New York Mets atop the National League East. The Marlins have dropped four of five and could have played their last game with pitcher Mat Latos and first baseman Michael Morse, who reportedly are part of a three-team deal involving the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. Veteran right-hander Dan Haren, also the subject of numerous trade rumors, is scheduled to oppose Scherzer.

TV: 12:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, MASN (Washington)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.33 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Dan Haren (7-6, 3.51)

Scherzer lasted only five innings and served up three homers for the first time since 2011 in a 7-5 loss at Pittsburgh on Friday. Since a dominating three-start winning streak in which he struck out 33 and yielded only two runs over 26 innings, Scherzer is 1-3 over his last five outings. He struggled in a victory over the Marlins on May 6, giving up five runs on a season-high 10 hits while fanning 10.

Haren has won only once in his last nine starts but he has been a model of consistency, typically pitching six innings and giving up two to three runs per outing. He was victimized by the long ball in a 3-1 setback at San Diego last time out, surrendering three solo homers among eight hits over six innings. Haren went five innings of two-run ball to beat the Nationals on April 26 to improve to 4-3 with a 2.85 ERA against them.

WALK-OFFS

1. Harper drove in four runs Wednesday to halt a nine-game RBI drought and extend his hitting streak to seven games.

2. Marlins RF Ichiro Suzuki had a pair of hits Wednesday to give him 2,901 for his major-league career.

3. Nationals CF Michael Taylor has three homers and six RBIs during a five-game hitting streak.

PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Marlins 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Washington 53-46 W1 28-19 25-27 26-17 10-16 9-4 8-9
Miami 42-59 L1 25-24 17-35 15-21 7-12 15-16 5-10
Last Meeting
Washington Miami
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/29/15 WAS 7 MIA 2 .257 3 .889 .161 0 .483
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington B. Harper .385 10 1.546
Miami D. Gordon .441 15 1.031
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 6 8 12
Miami G. Stanton 2 7 6
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 4.37 .233 66
Miami 3.34 .295 56
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington B. Harper .335 106 1.153
Miami D. Gordon .337 124 .773
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 29 68 68
Miami G. Stanton 27 47 67
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 3.62 .252 776
Miami 3.71 .255 717