The Florida Marlins' favorite tackling dummies, the Washington Nationals, are in town this week. And you could not ask for a better match up for a team that seems to have finally regained its mojo. The Marlins had been stumbling around like a moose on tranquilizers in the last few months, what with its struggling pitching, its NL strike-outs lead, and its overall desire to embrace mediocrity. But just a few weeks ago, they were able to dispatch Albert Pujols and the mighty St. Louis Cardinals before sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in their own stadium. Josh Johnson seems to keep giving Florida solid outings, and right fielder Cody Ross has hit three grand slams so far this season, tying Bobby Bonilla and Jeff Conine for most salamis by a Marlin in one season. Of course, they're still not without their problems. The bullpen is always an adventure, the bats can be maddeningly inconsistent, and there's always the ubiquitous "How's Fredi Gonzalez Gonna Screw This One Up?" factor. But all in all, the Marlins are showing life again. And a series against the hapless Nationals always helps. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. at Land Shark Stadium (2269 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami Gardens). Tickets start at $12 and can be purchased at florida.marlins.mlb.com.
Mon., June 29, 7 p.m., 2009