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Thursday, April 6, 2017

MLB : Nationals Host Miami to Start 2017 Campaign

Is the window of opportunity closing on the Washington Nationals? They’ve been to the MLB playoffs three times in the last five years, but the Nats have yet to win a series, let alone the World Series. Washington (95-67, +0.27 betting units last year) begins the 2017 campaign at home with a three-game set versus the Miami Marlins. MLB Network has Thursday’s finale starting at 4:05 PM ET.

The Marlins (79-82, 0 –6.11 units) have lower expectations than Washington for 2017. They lost ace pitcher Jose Fernandez in a fatal boating accident last September, but the Marlins do have a collection of serviceable starters – including Tom Koehler (4.60 FIP), who’s scheduled to take the mound on Thursday. However, current Washington batters have a combined .870 career OPS off Koehler, and OF Bryce Harper (.814 OPS) is 11-of-32 lifetime with six homeruns and a 1.385 OPS.

Gio Gonzalez (3.76 FIP) is projected to start for the Nationals. He’s fallen to third in the rotation after a sketchy 2016 season that saw Washington go 14-18 in his 32 starts for a loss of 10.52 units. However, current Marlins hitters have managed only a .696 lifetime OPS versus the veteran southpaw.

Live odds and lines

MLB Odds: Marlins-Nats Open 2017 in DC

The Washington Nationals begin their 2017 season at home with a three-game series against the Florida Marlins. Game 3 is Thursday at 4:05 PM ET, with MLB Network providing the coverage.

Gio Gonzalez (3.76 FIP last year) is projected to start for Washington against Tom Koehler (4.60 FIP). This is a very important season for Gonzalez, whose fastball doesn’t have the same 93-mph pop that it did five years ago when he led the National League with 21 wins. Koehler is a generic workhorse for Miami, but a valuable one with 30+ starts in each of the last three seasons.

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