(Sports Network) - Tough-luck right-hander Stephen Strasburg can get back to the .500 mark for the season on Friday night when the Washington Nationals head to Marlins Park to open a three-game set with the host Miami Marlins.
A former No. 1 overall draft pick in 2009, Strasburg opened this season with losses in five of his first six decisions while toting a respectable 3.10 earned run average.
He's won three of his last four decisions over his last nine starts, but is nonetheless just 5-6 overall, though he's pared the ERA down among the National League's best at 2.45.
Strasburg was an 11-7 winner in his last outing on July 7 against San Diego, allowing four runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts across six innings of work.
It was the first time he'd allowed more than two runs in a start since May 11.
He defeated Miami, 2-0, in his initial start of the season on April 1 after giving up three hits in seven innings.
For the Marlins, youngster Nathan Eovaldi gets his fifth start of the season and the first of his career against the Nationals.
The 23-year-old Texan was a draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 and reached the majors with them in 2011, then came to Miami last season in a mid- year deal that sent Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins to the Dodgers.
Eovaldi was 3-7 in 12 subsequent starts last season and was a winner in his lone decision thus far in 2013, when he allowed two runs in six innings of a 7-2 defeat of the San Francisco Giants on June 23.
Across four starts, he's allowed seven runs on 16 hits in 24 2/3 innings with 13 strikeouts and an opposition batting average of just .188, 74 points below his career mark of .262.
On Thursday in Philadelphia, Kevin Frandsen's pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh helped the Phillies take a 3-1 win over the Nationals to wrap up a four-game set.
Ryan Zimmerman drove in the only run of the game for the Nationals, who had won four straight coming into the series.
"There is a long way to go. A lot of guys are getting to where they need to be. It was a tough ball game. I little break here or there and we could have won three of four," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson.
Jordan Zimmermann (12-4) was touched for two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of work. It was his first loss since May 29 as he was 4-0 in his previous seven starts.
On Wednesday in Miami, Placido Polanco went 3-for-5 with three RBI and Jacob Turner spun seven strong innings to lead the Marlins to a 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Turner (3-1) allowed two runs on four hits and three walks while fanning five to earn the win.
Giancarlo Stanton had a two-run double and Jeff Mathis drove in a run for the Marlins, who snapped a five-game losing streak.
"It's good, especially going into an off day," Stanton said. "You don't want to go six in a row into your day off and then you're wondering and all that stuff on that day."
The Nationals won five of the first six games between the teams in 2013, including three straight in Washington between April 1 and 4 and two of three in Miami from April 15-17. The teams split their season series, 9-9, in 2012.