Marlins Vs. Nationals Preview: Washington Looks To Lengthen NL East Lead In Friday Doubleheader

MIAMI, FL - MAY 28: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals slides safely into home against catcher John Buck #14 of the Florida Marlins at Marlins Park on May 28, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Nationals 5-3. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

The Nationals are no longer leading the NL in wins and are just 2.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves for the NL East lead, but can work to fix that with a four-game series against the Miami Marlins, starting on Friday.

The Nationals are no longer leading the NL in wins and are just 2.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves for the NL East lead. With a run of six games against the two bottom teams in the NL East, the Nationals had an opportunity to get themselves back on track, but lost two of their first three games against the last-place Phillies.

But after winning the final game in the three-game series against the Phillies, the Nationals will look to carry that momentum into a four-game series against the Marlins. Despite the horrible season for the Marlins and the success of the Nationals thus far, Miami has done well against the division leaders, winning five of the last seven when the two teams have faced each other.

Pitching for the Nationals in game one of Friday night's doubleheader will be John Lannan who made his first start of the 2012 season on July 21 in a seven inning performance in which he allowed just two runs to earn the victory.

He'll be pitching against Brad Hand who has yet to throw a pitch in 2012, but finished the 2011 season with a 1-8 record. His sole career victory came over a year ago against the Houston Astros.

The first pitch of Game 1 at Nationals Park is scheduled to be thrown at 4:05 p.m. and will be televised on MASN2 and Fox Sports Florida.

For more on this and all things Washington Nationals baseball, please check out Federal Baseball. And as always, please check out the SB Nation MLB Baseball hub page for more on this and every Major League series.

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