The Marlins will try for their fifth straight victory and another road sweep over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.
Florida (72-64) has not lost since second baseman Dan Uggla(notes) openly accused Hanley Ramirez of a lack of commitment prior to Wednesday’s game against Atlanta. The Marlins have recorded 13 hits in each of their last four contests, including Saturday night’s 9-5 victory.
“You’ve got to keep trying to win ballgames,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I’m glad we’ve got four in a row and hopefully (we) keep going.”
The incident came after Ramirez, who leads the NL with a .359 batting average, left Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Atlanta with a hamstring injury. Following the team’s ninth defeat in 13 games, Uggla exchanged words with his fellow All-Star the next day, questioning how hurt he really was.
After making peace with Uggla, Ramirez returned Thursday to deliver a pinch-hit RBI single in an 8-3 win over the Braves, and he’s had two hits in each of the two victories in Washington.
Chris Coghlan(notes) is also on a career-best, 13-game hitting streak, one shy of the longest in the majors this season by a rookie. Jorge Cantu(notes), who also had three hits in Saturday’s win, is 13 for 26 with eight RBIs in the last six games.
Sanchez, however, is 3-0 with a 3.16 ERA in seven starts against Washington (46-90). He’ll also face a Nationals team that is limping to the end of a miserable season.
Washington’s eight straight defeats are its most since dropping 12 in a row from Aug. 8-20, 2008. The majors’ worst team has clinched its eighth 90-loss season in 12 years and third since relocating from Montreal in 2005.
Poor pitching is one of the main reasons for the Nationals’ struggles this season as their 5.10 ERA is also worst in the majors. They have a 6.19 ERA in their last 15 games, and will look to rookie right-hander J.D. Martin(notes) (3-4, 4.60) to reverse that trend.
Martin, who has lost two of his last three starts, did not get a decision in his only matchup with the Marlins on Aug. 4 as he gave up three runs over 4 1-3 innings. Coghlan had two hits against him in that game, and Cody Ross(notes) added a solo homer.
The Marlins are searching for their 28th win in 34 meetings with the Nationals and 13th in 17 road games since the beginning of last season. They have swept four of the previous six series in the nation’s capital.