Preview: Marlins aim to continue surge against division-leading Nationals

TV: FOX Sports Florida

TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.


MIAMI -- The Washington Nationals will arrive in South Florida on Monday a very talented and tired team.

The talent part is obvious. The pitching staff is led by two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, and four .300 hitters populate the middle of the lineup: Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon.

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However, the Nationals (62-41) split a doubleheader with the visiting Colorado Rockies on Sunday, and they will surely be dragging a bit when they report to Marlins Park on Monday for the start of a three-game series with the Miami Marlins.

After Nationals right-hander Erick Fedde was lasted only five innings in his major league debut while losing the first game 10-6, veteran Edwin Jackson saved the Washington bullpen by pitching seven innings as Washington won the nightcap 3-1.

"Not only we won the game, but it put my bullpen back into relative shape tomorrow and the ensuing days," Washington manager Dusty Baker said. "That was big. Now we can pitch and play three days to the next off day on Thursday."

Another issue is the trade deadline Monday afternoon. The Nationals, who lead the National League East by 13 games over the second-place Marlins, are looking for bullpen help with their eyes on the playoffs.

"The ultimate goal as players is to win a World Series," utility man Howie Kendrick said after joining Washington in a trade with Philadelphia over the weekend. "That's what we live for."

Meanwhile, the Marlins (49-54) are looking to be sellers before the deadline arrives. Starting pitcher Dan Straily is probably the most valuable asset Miami is dangling with the hopes of hooking premium prospects in return.

Straily (7-7, 3.79 ERA) took a 6-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, then said after the game that he is aware of the rumors.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't in my thoughts ever," Straily said. "You are always aware whether you see it yourself or get asked about it by you guys. It's one of those things as a ballplayer that you just handle."

The Monday pitching matchup features Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez (8-5, 2.81 ERA) and Marlins right-hander Jose Urena (9-4, 4.04 ERA).

Gonzalez, a left-hander from Miami, has been exceptional in his 13 career games against the Marlins, going 7-3 with a 2.19 ERA. In five games at Marlins Park, though, Gonzalez is just 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA.

This will be Urena's first game against Washington in 2017. Last year, he went 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA against Washington in three relief appearances covering five innings.

In terms of the offenses on the field on Monday, Washington is not the only team with heavy hitters.

Miami right fielder Giancarlo Stanton leads the National League with 33 homers. Left fielder Marcell Ozuna hit his 24th homer of the season on Sunday, setting a career high. He also has 81 RBIs this season, 27 of them this month, a franchise record for July.

Stanton and Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto were held out of the starting lineup Sunday in an effort to rest them. Realmuto hit his 12th homer of the season on Saturday, breaking his previous career high of 11 set last year.

Realmuto is fourth in the NL and eighth in the majors in homers by a catcher this year. He grounded out as a pinch hitter Sunday.