Last time out, Jose Fernandez showed a side of himself no one had seen before -- basically, a human side.
The Marlins' 21-year-old ace was rocked for a career-high six earned runs in four innings in a loss at Philadelphia. It was a rare night where Fernandez wasn't in complete control.
On Wednesday, the righty will look to return to his old self in the series finale against the Nationals at Marlins Park.
"I don't think I was locating my pitches," Fernandez said of his outing at Philadelphia. "This is the big leagues. If you don't locate, you're probably going to get hit."
Wednesday will be the rubber match of the three-game set.
On Tuesday night, the Marlins cruised to an 11-2 win, snapping their eight-game losing streak.
Washington, 1-4 on the road trip, is starting right-hander Tanner Roark.
High-energy to begin with, Fernandez is even more amped up to get back after his short stint at Philadelphia.
"All of our guys want to get out there and set the tone and give us a chance, absolutely," manager Mike Redmond said. "Coming off not a great outing for him, he definitely can't wait to get out there. This guy is a competitor. He wants the ball. If he could take the ball three nights, four nights a week, he would. That's just the way he's made."
The 2013 National League Rookie of the Year, Fernandez is 2-1 on the season. But at home, he has been unbeatable in his short career. In 17 starts, he is 11-0 with a 1.14 ERA, plus 125 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings.
Roark lacks the track record of Fernandez, but the Nationals hold an experience edge over the Marlins.
Despite the lopsided loss on Tuesday, Washington has had its way with Miami the past two years. The Nats were 15-4 in the series a year ago, and are off to a 4-1 start this season.
Roark (1-0) earned a spot in Washington's rotation with his strong performance at the end of last season and this spring.
The right-hander will look to bounce back from his shortest outing as a starter. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings against the Braves, giving up five runs on five hits with three strikeouts and a walk.
"Not trying to change too much," Roark said. "Still pitching to my strengths and being confident in my pitches. Just attacking hitters and the strike zone. Get strike 1 and read the hitters' swings."
Nationals: Primed to take series
Despite the rare loss to the Marlins, the Nationals still are in position to take the series with a win on Wednesday. Dating back to last year, Washington has won 13 of the last 16 with Miami.
"It's a question of playing well," manager Matt Williams said. "If we play well, then we have a chance. You can look to recent history the past weekend and we didn't play so well. You don't play well, you find yourself behind in games or losing those games. The objective is the same every day. You get out there and score as many times as we can and see if we can win it."
Williams is quick to remind what happened in the past guarantees little on game day.
"Past history, records against certain teams really doesn't mean anything because when they toe the rubber today it's all different," Williams said.
Marlins: Rotation spot still undetermined
The Marlins are weighing their rotation options for Sunday, as Brad Hand is not expected to get the nod in the series finale against the Mariners. There is a good chance Kevin Slowey will make the start, with Hand moving back to the bullpen, pitching in long relief.
But after that start on Sunday, there are two upcoming days off. So the Marlins could go with a four-man rotation until their May 2-4 series with the Dodgers in Miami.
The team is not eager to dip into the Minor Leagues to bring up a possible starter.
• Zach Walters connected on his first big league homer on Tuesday night, going deep off Dan Jennings in the ninth inning. Last year, Walters had his first big league hit -- against the Marlins. It came off Fernandez.
• The Nationals are 6-0 when leading after seven innings.
• Bryce Harper has reached base safely in 18 of his last 33 plate appearances.
• Giancarlo Stanton's five RBIs on Tuesday matched his career high, last accomplished on Sept. 30, 2010, against the Pirates.
• Marcell Ozuna, who sat out Monday night with a bruised left foot, had hits in each of his first four at-bats on Tuesday night.
• Along with being Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday, it also was Adeiny Hechavarria's 25th birthday. The Miami shortstop hit a triple and scored two runs on the night.
•Miami's 11 runs and 15 hits on Tuesday were both season highs.