Sunday, September 18, 2011

Game 151: Marlins at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chien-Ming Wang faces Brad Hand today at Nationals Park.
The Marlins' dominance of the Nationals -- they're now 49-18 against Washington since 2008, not to mention 26-8 at Nationals Park since it opened, 7-1 this season -- defies explanation. So I'm really not going to try to surmise why this has been the case. All I'll say is this: If the Nats are serious about ascending in the NL East, they simply have to start beating Florida.

The challenge will be upon Chien-Ming Wang this afternoon to try to reverse the trend. The right-hander continues to tease us with glimpses of what he can be, though aside from one dominant outing in Chicago, he's struggled to put it all together.

Rookie left-hander Brad Hand (1-7, 4.02 ERA) gets the start for the Marlins. He'll face a Nats lineup that includes Jayson Werth in center field and Jonny Gomes in right field.

Updates to come...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: MASN2, Ch. 50
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 66 degrees, Wind 13 mph in from RF
SS Ian Desmond
CF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
RF Jonny Gomes
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Chris Marrero
C Jesus Flores
P Chien-Ming Wang

MARLINS (69-83)
LF Emilio Bonifacio
2B Omar Infante
RF Mike Stanton
3B Greg Dobbs
1B Gaby Sanchez
CF Bryan Petersen
SS Donnie Murphy
C Brett Hayes
P Brad Hand
1:37 p.m. -- And we're underway with a strike from Chien-Ming Wang to Emilio Bonifacio. Another overcast, cool day here at Nationals Park. 64 degrees at first pitch

1:43 p.m. -- Nice top of the first for Wang. He retired the side on 14 pitches, struck out Bonifacio looking at a 90-mph sinker and got Mike Stanton to ground out weakly to short to end the frame. Whatever Wang has done the last two times out to overcome his first-inning bugaboo has worked.

1:57 p.m. -- Two innings down, two strikeouts and nobody's hit the ball out of the infield against Wang so far.

2:07 p.m. -- And the Nats take a 1-0 lead as Jonny Gomes leads off the bottom of the second with a double to deep center, shows nice hustle to advance to third on Danny Espinosa's groundball to the left side and then scores on Chris Marrero's sac fly to right (Marrero's eighth RBI of his brief career).

2:23 p.m. -- So far, so good for Wang and the Nats. They lead 1-0 after three innings. And Wang has allowed only one ball to leave the infield: Hang's two-out single in the top of the third. He's at 40 pitches through three.

2:46 p.m. -- Now the Nats have built up a nice cushion for Wang, scoring three times in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. Big RBI single from Espinosa (who needed that) and when Bryan Petersen booted the ball in center field, another run came around to score and Espinosa reached third. He scored moments later on Marrero's bloop double to right, giving the rookie two RBI today and nine now since his promotion.

2:49 p.m. -- And the Marlins get one back on Wang's first pitch of the fifth inning. Gaby Sanchez hits a laser into the flowers beyond the left-field fence. It's 4-1.

3:16 p.m. -- A really solid outing for Wang today, and it may not be over yet. Through six innings, he's allowed one run on four hits, striking out four without issuing a walk. He's at 80 pitches (51 strikes). Tom Gorzelanny was warming up during the sixth, but he's taken a seat now, so Wang could be back out for the seventh inning for only the second time this year. Still 4-1 Nats.

3:19 p.m. -- Wow, get a load of this new Marlins pitcher: Jose Ceda. He's listed at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds. Riiiight. He makes Todd Coffey look lean and mean.

3:33 p.m. -- Unfortunately, this afternoon ends on a sour note for Wang, who was one out from completing the seventh inning for the first time since June 10, 2008 but served up a two-run homer to Brett Hayes. All of a sudden, it's a 4-3 game and Tyler Clippard has entered. Wang's final line: 6.2 ip, 6, h, 3 r, 0 bb, 5 k, 93 pitches, 60 strikes.

3:56 p.m. -- Controversy in the top of the eighth as Mike Stanton tries to convince umpire Cory Blaser he was hit by a Clippard pitch in the hand. Blaser insists the ball hit Stanton's bat for a foul ball, prompting a very testy Jack McKeon to waste about five minutes of our afternoon arguing a call that wasn't going to get changed. The foul ball call stood up, and Clippard then struck out Stanton. Still 4-3 as we go to the bottom of the eighth.

4:01 p.m. -- And here comes Drew Storen in search of his 38th save. No margin for error today, with the Nats clinging to a 1-run lead.

4:09 p.m. -- Stop the presses! The Nats have beaten the Marlins! Final score: Nats 4, Marlins 3. Wang (3-3) gets the win in his longest start in three years. Storen gets his 38th save.


W said...

As much as I hate to say it, I'll be focusing on the Skins game today. I've found myself skipping over games vs. the Fish and will probably do so until something changes. Mark's right...if they're serious about improving in the division, losing to Florida over and over again cannot be tolerated. Unfortunately, Davey's comments on the disparity aren't encouraging.

Anonymous said...

This game is over before it even starts :(

71-80 and now we start the final 10 games.

Anonymous said...

Jason Werth is no better than the 3rd best centerfielder on the current team - he continues to fall below expectations - he should be benched for the rest of the year or play right fielf and bat 6th or 7th.

natsfan1a said...

Won't be focusing on the pointy-ball game, but will be out and about today. Have set the DVR to record and will hope to watch the replay of a win later (hey, a fan can hope).

(And that's why they play the games, Anon @ 11:31.)

Anonymous said...

The reorganization of this team at the mgr level needs to start with the batting coach and the first base coach. Davey (he's probably going to stay if you believe Boswell) says he's going to rework his staff. For X's sake, let's hope he gets somebody who knows what's going on. He put that guy on the staff, he said, because he wants someone out there who's older than he is. Older and dumber?

Anonymous said...

I don't watch football for one reason: They stop the game for commercials. Enough. Done. I'm outta here. (Once they started the extra TO after TD's and KO's.)

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'm totally convinced someone can go locate Daniel Cabrera, put him in a Marlins uniform and get 7 innings of 4 hit, 1 run ball out of him against the Nats.

Anonymous said...

Glad to read such cheer.

Anonymous said...

Danny Cabrera would no hit the Nats with 13 Ks and 0 walks if he was on the Marlins.

carolync said...

I'm disappointed we have not seen more of Lombardozzi in the middle infield. We've seen Desmond and his deficiencies for two full seasons and Espinosa and his fall from ROY consideration for one. Rendon played some second base in college. I would like to see what else we have. I don't care how good the pitching is, this team is going nowhere without better hitting.

The Optimist said...

On the bright side: Neither Bernadina nor Bixler are in the lineup, so maybe we play a game without boneheaded baserunning...

Anonymous said...

To: The Devil
Subj: Hitting and Soul

One slightly used soul available in exchange for several consistently good hitting ballplayers. Power hitting not required but definitely okay. No long periods of coldness followed by scorching hotness perferred (no offense intended); have too many like that already. OBO

A 14 year-old's sense of humor lying dormant in a middle age man said...

Oh goody, another Hand vs Wang matchup!

Anonymous said...

It is going to be painful to watch Werth for six more years.

DCGuy7 said...

I should be sleeping but the game is on here in Singapore. I assume because Wang is pitching. GYFNG!

oh- nice hit Danny!

Steady Eddie said...

Note that it took a rookie called up only 3 weeks ago (Marrero) to hit even a minimally effective sac fly.

And Espi -- finally back to his clutch RISP pre-ASG ways!

Now let's see if Marrero can do it again.

Hah! So much the better, oppo double!

Steady Eddie said...

Like I said in the previous thread, I think Selig's has gotten the umps on a vendetta against the Nats to get back at Lerner for his overslot signings. Pitchtrack proved that 1-1 pitch to Stanton was inarguably a strike, then he loses Stanton on a 3-1 single. Converse of Bell's (last night home plate ump) extra six inches on the Marlins' pitchers' strike zone.

Good that Wang is showing himself again enough of a pro go pitch himself through it without more damage. Good jammage on left-hander Dobbs..

Nattydread said...

Clippard. Wow, nice K on Stanton!

Nattydread said...

Woohoo! And the Skins pull off a squeaker too!

NatsJack in Florida said...

I say start negotiating on a 2 year contract with CMW right now.

Section 222 said...

@NatsJack -- With a team option!

Anonymous said...

With Livan out of the rotation for good (and presumably the long reliever in 2012), the team desperately needs a veteran presence next year.

Based on the way Wang has pitched this summer, he will be at least as effective as Livan the past couple of years and probably better.

Unless the Nationals make a trade for a veteran starter, I think we'll see the rotation next year looking this way:

1-Stephen Strasburg
2-Jordan Zimmermann
3-John Lannan
4-Chien Ming Wang
5-Brad Peacock/Tom Milone

If the Nationals' offense awakes from its year-long snooze, that is certainly a plus-.500 rotation.

If Werth returns to (near)form in 2012 and Adam LaRoche hits his career average (.267-26-92), the Nationals should be an 85-88 win team, perhaps even 90 if Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa play as well as we thought they might this past spring.

Steady Eddie said...

Anon @ 5:05:

Hear, hear!

sunderland said...

I don't think Livo is brought back. Love him big time, but it is time to move on.
We have no use for him in the bullpen, especially considering how long he takes to warm up. And we have the long men, Detwiler and Stammen.

N. Cognito said...

Barring a trade or free agent pick-up, don't be suprised if Detwiler is in the rotation coming out of Spring Training next year. He's out of options and Milone and Peacock are not.
That doesn't mean that Milone or Peacock might not push someone out of the rotation sometime during the season.

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