Nationals close out their home schedule with a three-game series against the Miami Marlins beginning Monday night.After dropping three of four to the fourth-place New York Mets over the weekend Tyler Flowers Jersey , third-place Washington (77-77) needs to go 4-2 this weekend to cap a seventh straight winning season.Miami right-hander Sandy Alcantara (2-1, 2.35) and right-hander Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.83) square off in a rematch of a Sept. 18 pairing won by Strasburg and Washington, 4-2. Strasburg allowed two runs on five hits over six innings, while striking out 11 and walking two.Article continues below ...Over his last five starts, Strasburg is 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA and 38 strikeouts.r0;Her17;s been really good,r1; Nationals manager Dave Martinez told The Washington Post. r0;Her17;s pitching now. Her17;s mixing all of his pitches in and attacking the strike zone.r1;Strasburg is 17-7 with a 3.04 ERA in 30 career starts against Miami.Alcantara lasted just four innings against Washington, allowing three earned runs on six hits and six walks in absorbing his first loss of the season.r0;When we talk about young guys, this is what we see,r1; Marlins manager Don Mattingly told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. r0;We see good and then we see some ones that are not as good. Today, the command didnr17;t seem to be there. A lot of misses, counts get bad and a lot of pitches in a short period of time.r0;Itr17;s something her17;ll be able to learn from and your17;ve got to continue to work and be consistent with what you do and thatr17;s what separates the guys who are going to be really good and the guys who are going to be OK.r1;Miami finished the home portion of its schedule with a 6-0 win over the Reds Sunday, taking three of four in the weekend series. At 62-93 with one game unlikely to be made up, the Marlins should avoid 100 losses but also wonr17;t approach their 77 wins of a year ago.r0;No matter what, we knew what we were kind of embarking on this year http://www.bravesfanproshop.com/authentic-nick-markakis-jersey , with a lot of the changes,r1; Mattingly told mlb.com. r0;The new direction of the club, under the new ownership. You understand all that. Still, the losses add up, and those are hard to deal with.r0;But Ir17;ve been proud of the guys. Ir17;ve felt theyr17;ve continued to play hard and continued to give you the effort, and thatr17;s not easy to do when your17;re taking that many losses on the chin.r1;Washington is also playing out the string after being eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday. They lost 8-6 to the Mets in Sundayr17;s finale.Twenty-five-year-old rookie Erick Fedde, the teamr17;s first-round pick in the 2014 draft, is among those bidding for a 2019 starting rotation spot. Against the Mets Sunday, he lasted only 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs in a no-decision.In nine starts this season, Fedde has yet to go beyond six innings.r0;There are times when Ir17;m like: r16;I can pitch at this level, I can be successful and I think I can dominate,'r1; he told MASN.com. r0;And then there are times that are like: r16;What are you doing out there?r17; But I think that comes with the learning curve, and I just need to make sure that isnr17;t a very long learning curve.r1; WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) r12; A quirk in Houstonr17;s early spring training schedule will force manager A. J. Hinch to use veteran stars such as outfielders George Springer and Michael Brantley earlier than her17;d like.Hinch isnr17;t pleased that his Astros will play split-squad games r12; at the New York Mets Phil Niekro Jersey , home vs. Atlanta r12; on Sunday, the second day of their Grapefruit League play.r0;Tomorrow we have a split squad, which is probably the worst possible scenario for the beginning of camp because I donr17;t really love playing guys this early,r1; Hinch said. r0;As we push the season earlier r12; into March now r12; spring training games, now it feels like mid-February, and wer17;re revving guys up. The position players donr17;t need as long a time to get ready for a season.r1;The 2017 World Series champion Astros field a veteran team and many of those guys entered camp with injury questions. Using the designated hitter spot as sort of a half day off, one of Hinchr17;s toughest tasks, especially early in spring, will be choosing who gets those at-bats.Springer, a two-time All-Star and the 2017 World Series MVP who is coming off a thumb injury, will make his debut on Sunday as a designated hitter. Brantley, a three-time All-Star who signed with Houston as a free agent, will DH the other game and wonr17;t play the field for at least a week. The 10-year veteran played 141 games last season but only 101 combined games in 2016-17 because of injuries.Returning from offseason knee surgery, 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve wonr17;t debut until Monday, when her17;ll DH instead of playing second base.r0;We have a predominantly veteran team thatr17;s been around http://www.bravesfanproshop.com/authentic-nick-markakis-jersey ,r1; Hinch said. r0;We have a team where therer17;s few questions and outside of a few health questions and a few decisions we have to make therer17;s not a lot of stress going into this spring as to what we need to implement.r1;Saturday nightr17;s lineup for the Astrosr17; Grapefruit League opener against Washington wasnr17;t exactly indicative of the team Hinch intends to field when Houston opens the season on March 28 at Tampa Bay, lacking any regulars from last season.Outfielder Jake Marisnick, the closest thing to a regular in the lineup, led off the game by homering against Max Scherzer. Derek Fisher and Kyle Tucker completed the started outfield while the Astros regulars watched from the dugout.r0;I have to play them tomorrow,r1; Hinch said. r0;Springer will player tomorrow, (Josh) Reddick will play tomorrow. Yuli (Gurriel) will play tomorrow. Everybody that you recognize is on our team will likely play tomorrow, minus the infielders.r1;Third baseman Alex Bregman, who underwent offseason elbow surgery, isnr17;t expected to make his Grapefruit League debut until the weekend. Unlike his other teammates, Bregman wonr17;t be eased back into Grapefruit League play by starting at DH.r0;Her17;ll play third base as soon as her17;s ready,r1; Hinch said.