Nationals Vs. Marlins Preview: Miami Starts 2nd Half By Hosting 1st Place Washington

MIAMI, FL - MAY 30: Josh Johnson #55 of the Miami Marlins pitches during a game against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park on May 30, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

The Miami Marlins begin the second of the season with a crucial four-game series against the division-leading Nationals.

As the second half of the season begins, the Miami Marlins are three games under .500 but are certainly not out of it as the trade deadline approaches. After a miserable month of June, they will need to get to work quick, however, and they'll have an excellent opportunity starting on Friday with a series against division-leading Washington. The Nationals come to South Florida with a nine-game lead over the Fish, and a four-game lead over second place Atlanta. The Marlins swept the Nationals on their last visit to Marlins Park at the end of May, and they'll look for similar success this weekend in a crucial four-game series to start the second half of the season.

Josh Johnson will get the start for Ozzie Guillen in Game 1 on Friday night and he'll be opposed by Jordan Zimmermann. The big righty went 5-5 with a 4.06 ERA in the first half for Miami. While he had a rough start in his final outing before the break, he had largely settled in over the month of June while the rest of his team scuffled. The Nationals. He'll look to bounce back from that rough July 4 start and get the Marlins off on the right foot against the first-place Nats.

Stay with this StoryStream throughout the weekend for more updates on the Marlins series against first-place Washington. For more on the Marlins as they start the second half of the season, visit Fish Stripes. For more on the Nationals, visit Federal Baseball. And for all your baseball news coming out of the All-Star break, visit Baseball Nation.

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