Dave Martinez is back, and Don Mattingly is staying put.
The Washington Nationals, who prevailed 6-4 on Friday night, will play the host Miami Marlins in the middle contest of a three-game series on Saturday, and, so far, the rival managers have dominated the news.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez, 54, had to leave Sunday’s game due to chest pains. After being hospitalized, he was released on Tuesday and returned to the dugout on Friday.
“It’s awesome to see these guys,” Martinez, whose team leads the National League wild-card race, said of his players. “Regardless of the outcome, they brighten my day every day. The conversations we have — I missed that the past few days.”
Marlins manager Don Mattingly, 58, announced on Friday in conjunction with the Marlins that he will return for the next two seasons, with a mutual option for 2022.
“Donnie believes in our vision,” said Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, whose team has the worst record in the National League but is rebuilding with a group of top prospects. “He has shown a lot of patience with our young and developing team.”
Patience has been required because the Marlins on Friday reached 100 losses, just the third time in franchise history and the first since 2013 that they have fallen that low in the standings.
In Saturday’s pitching matchup, the Marlins will try rookie right-hander Jordan Yamamoto (4-5, 4.87 ERA).
The Nationals will start right-hander Stephen Strasburg (17-6, 3.49 ERA), who has a long history of dominating the Marlins.
In his past two starts against Miami, both this year, Strasburg has pitched 15 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out 28 batters.
Those are numbers skilled pitchers can put up in high school but generally not in the major leagues.
Going further back, Strasburg is 21-7 with a 2.74 ERA in 35 career starts against the Marlins. At Marlins Park, Strasburg is 9-5 with a 3.58 ERA in 14 starts.
Yamamoto, meanwhile, hasn’t pitched since Aug. 24 due to a strained right forearm. He started the season with a 4-0 record, but he has lost five straight decisions.
He hasn’t won a game since July 16, although he has yet to face Washington.
Yamamoto went 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA in the first half of the season but is 1-5 with a 7.55 ERA since then. Also concerning are his home numbers this year: a 6.23 ERA in seven starts.
As for the offenses on each side, shortstop Trea Turner and second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera are coming off big games for the Nationals. Cabrera went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer. Trea Turner homered twice.
For the season, Cabrera has 17 homers, and Turner has 16.
However, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, who entered Friday leading the league in batting average, went 0-for-4. His average dropped to .328, but he rarely has two bad games in a row.
Marlins third baseman Starlin Castro homered and doubled on Friday, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. His homer was his 21st of the season, tying his career high.
Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas, who signed a two-year contract extension earlier Friday, went 0-for-5 in what was an emotional day for him.
Rojas, who is fourth in the majors in defensive runs saved, choked back tears of joy during a press conference announcing his extension.
“I was never a big prospect,” Rojas said. “I always had to work really hard for what I accomplished. I never thought I would be in this position.”
–Field Level Media