After a successful homestand to start the season, the Marlins embark on their first road trip, with the first stop coming in Washington, where they open a three-game series Tuesday.
But even though many feel the Nationals are the team to beat in the National League East, the Marlins aren’t treating the early showdown with their division rivals as a litmus test.
At least not everyone.
“In this clubhouse, we know where we stand,” reliever Mike Dunn said.
Said utility man Jeff Baker: “Obviously, you want to win those [games] in the division.”
But having taken a pair of series from two of the league’s more lightly regarded opponents in Colorado and San Diego, the Marlins don’t see Washington as a truer gauge of how they stack up.
“Not at all,” Baker said. “I think this shows who we are, to be honest with you.”
Manager Mike Redmond, though, said the series could serve as an early barometer. The Marlins are expected to face the top three pitchers in the Nationals rotation — Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg — while countering with their Nos. 3, 4 and 5 starters.
“It’s a great test for us to kind of see where we’re at,” Redmond said. “We’re facing their best three pitchers. I’m excited about the opportunity to go in there and play after having a nice homestand, and hopefully we keep this momentum going.”
• Jose Fernandez always seems to be putting himself into a historical grouping of one kind or another. The latest club to which Fernandez gained membership: pitchers who owned a career ERA of below 2.10 after their first 30 major-league starts. Fernandez, who now sits at 2.09, joins Stan Bahnsen (2.05), Vida Blue (1.97) and Orel Hershiser (2.07), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
• By driving in 11 runs in the Marlins’ first six games, Giancarlo Stanton broke Jorge Cantu’s team record of 10 RBI for the first half-dozen games. Casey McGehee also drove in 10. According to Stats LLC, Stanton and McGehee became the first tandem to drive in at least 10 RBI in the first six games since Colorado’s Dante Bichette and Andres Galarraga did it in 1994.
Stanton had another RBI Sunday, matching Cliff Floyd’s 2001 mark for most consecutive games with an RBI to start the season.
• Monday: Off.
• Tuesday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 9.00 ERA) at Washington Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.50), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.
• Wednesday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (0-0, 7.50) at Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 1.80), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.