The Nationals have teased their fans with short-lived runs of success time and again this season, and although last week's five-game winning streak matched a season high and helped bring Washington back to .500 for the first time since the All-Star break ahead of Tuesday night's series opener against the Marlins, the Nationals still sit 8 1/2 games back of a Wild Card spot and 13 games out of first in the National League East.
This week's homestand begins a stretch of 19 consecutive games against the bottom three teams in the East, giving the Nationals one final chance to revive their playoff hopes. Meanwhile, the last-place Marlins have lost five of six heading into Tuesday night and look to get their Major League-worst offense going against reliever-turned-starter Ross Ohlendorf.
Ohlendorf will make his second start since spending three weeks on the disabled list with inflammation in his right throwing shoulder. He found himself caught in an offensive shootout in his return to action last Wednesday, allowing four runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Cubs.
"I was just glad to get back out there," Ohlendorf said after Wednesday's 11-6 win in Chicago. "I felt good. I wish I'd pitched deeper in the game for us, but our offense did an awesome job. ... I was really happy with my fastball tonight."
Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi bounced back from one of the worst outings of his Major League career by allowing just two runs over seven innings in a 4-1 loss to the Dodgers last Wednesday. After Eovaldi was touched up for 11 runs, nine of which were earned, against the Giants on Aug. 16, the six-hit, five-strikeout performance in a losing effort against his former team was a welcome sight.
"I think you saw tonight, maybe he just had an off day," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said of Eovaldi. "He looked really sharp, and he threw some great fastballs, well-located. He did enough to keep us in the ballgame. Offensively, we weren't able to push any runs across."
A lack of run support has been a common theme for Eovaldi all season. The Marlins have scored two runs or fewer in five of his last seven starts, a significant part of the reason why the 23-year-old right-hander has not won since July 12.
Nationals: Werth back in lineup after foot infection
• Jayson Werth was back in the starting lineup Sunday after sitting out Saturday's game with a right foot infection. Werth went 1-for-3 as the designated hitter against the Royals on Sunday.
• Bryce Harper's game-tying two-run home run on Sunday afternoon snapped a streak of 16 games without a home run for the 20-year-old outfielder, his second-longest homerless drought of the season.
Marlins: September callups not yet set
• With NL Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Fernandez approaching his innings limit in the coming weeks, the Marlins expect to bring up a handful of starting pitching options when rosters expand to a maximum of 40 players at the end of this week.
"We're still working on that," Redmond said. "We've talked about the guys we're going to bring up and trying to finalize the list of guys. We'll be bringing up probably at least a couple of guys that can start."
Among the names primed for possible callups are right-hander Sam Dyson and a pair of 23-year-old lefties in Brad Hand and Brian Flynn.
• The Nationals have secured a winning record in Interleague Play for the third consecutive season, finishing this season's slate 11-9 after Sunday's loss.
• The Marlins have scored three runs or less in each of their last five games.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.