Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins head to the Nation’s Capitol to open 2013 with the Washington Nationals. The Nationals are -230 favorites over the Marlins with an over/under run total set at 7.
A new stadium and an infusion of new faces were not a path to success in 2012 so the Marlins traded away most of their talent and are throwing out a young lineup with a few veterans and seeing where that takes them. Probably no worse than a year ago but that’s a long way off from challenging Washington and Atlanta in the National League East. That doesn’t mean the Marlins won’t be a problem because any team that has Giancarlo Stanton in their lineup will win games. The problem as I see it, is there isn’t enough supporting talent around one of the best players in the game to win on a consistent basis. The pitching staff is also a question mark with no proven ace with Ricky Nolasco getting the ball on opening day. Nolasco went 12-13 with a 4.48 ERA a year ago and the team hopes he can display his 2008 for when he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 32 starts.
I would be lying if I said I expected Washington to storm to the National League East crown in 2012 as I had them penciled in at no higher than third behind Atlanta and Philadelphia. Their were signs the Nationals were poised for a breakthrough and 2012 was the year with one of the more dominating rotations in the entire game and a lineup that simply got the job done. With the always dangerous Ryan Zimmerman at third and rookie Bryce Harper bursting on the scene, the lineup has some youth and veterans mixed in what should be an even more productive starting eight with speed, power and defense which had been a problem area in year’s past. The starting rotation is as good as any in the game and with opening day starter Stephen Strasburg not on a pitch count or limited innings, he has a shot at improving on last season’s 15-6 record and 3.16 ERA with health being the only worry.
The line is massive which I expected and we really are not familiar with teams to begin the year but based on last season I will back Washington.
Washington Nationals -230 Miami Marlins