A pair of veteran hurlers hook up Wednesday night when Florida Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez takes the mound against Livan Hernandez of the Washington Nationals. Most offshore sports books monitored by the SportsOptions odds product have installed the Nationals as slight $1.15 home favorites, with the total set at 8 1/2 ‘under’ (minus $1.20).
Florida (49-53) at Washington (49-52), 7:05 p.m. EDT
The Florida Marlins’ Javier Vazquez, now in his 14th season, leads all active pitchers with 2,456 career strikeouts. The Washington Nationals’ Livan Hernandez has compiled 1,910 over 16 big-league campaigns.
While both long-time veterans continue to eat up innings for their respective clubs, neither has been very over overpowering of late.
Hoping to rebound from one of his shortest outings of the year, Vazquez takes the hill opposite Hernandez, who looks for his first win in over a month when the Nationals continue a three-game set with the visiting Marlins on Wednesday night.
Florida (50-53) continued its recent dominance in the nation’s capital, winning 11-2 on Tuesday for its ninth victory in 10 games at Washington and third straight overall. Emilio Bonifacio extended his MLB-high hitting streak to 24 games with a 2-for-4 effort while Greg Dobbs replaced the injured Gaby Sanchez (tight left hamstring) in the lineup and went 3 for 5 with a homer along with a career-best five RBIs.
“It was a good move, right?” manager Jack McKeon said with a smile. “He’s in there (Wednesday). I’m not changing. It’s perfect, give Gaby an extra day.”
Mike Stanton, who went 17 for 34 with six homers while hitting safely in his first nine career games at Nationals Park, looks to regroup after going 0 for 5 on Tuesday. The Marlins are also hoping for a bounce-back performance from Vazquez (6-9, 5.35 ERA).
Vazquez had won back-to-back starts for the first time this year before yielding five runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings of Thursday’s 5-3 loss to light-hitting San Diego. The right-hander, though, received high praise from McKeon for coming back out following a 2 1/2-hour rain delay.
“You’ve got to give Javy a lot of credit,” McKeon said. “He saved the bullpen by going out there. Things like that go unnoticed.”
Vazquez, who spent the first six years of his career with the Montreal Expos, posted similar numbers against the Nationals on May 15, when he gave up six runs and seven hits over four innings of an 8-4 defeat. The Puerto Rico native is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA in four career starts versus his former franchise.
Vazquez has made things difficult on Jayson Werth, who is just 3 for 24 (.125) with nine strikeouts against him. Vazquez has also given Washington’s new acquisition Jonny Gomes a hard time, limiting him to one hit in eight at-bats.
The Nationals (49-53) are hoping Gomes, acquired via trade from Cincinnati in exchange for two minor leaguers Tuesday, adds some punch to an offense that has lost three straight and five of six while batting .211.
“He’s a power guy,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He can get on base. He’ll take his walks. He can drive in runs. Most importantly, he can change the game with one swing of the bat.”
Hernandez (5-9, 4.04), meanwhile, is saddled with the tough task of slowing down the Marlins, who have outscored opponents 57-25 in winning seven of eight on the road.
The right-hander, an integral part in Florida’s 1997 World Series championship run, is 0-1 with a 5.16 ERA in four starts since beating the Chicago White Sox on June 26.
Its been a while since Hernandez’s last win overall, but he hasn’t defeated the Marlins in more than two years, going 0-5 with a 4.82 ERA over his last eight meetings with Florida.
Stanton is 2 for 8 lifetime off Hernandez – with both hits home runs.