Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Edwin Jackson faces Anibal Sanchez tonight at Marlins Park.
Sanchez (7-0, 2.10 ERA in those 18 starts) will be on the mound tonight at Marlins Park, facing a Nationals club that would certainly like to bounce back from yesterday's 5-3 loss and avoid clinching only their fourth series loss of the season (they previously lost to the Dodgers, Pirates and Orioles). Edwin Jackson, who despite his 3.38 ERA this season remarkably has only one win (that complete-game, two-hitter against the Reds), gets the start for Davey Johnson.
The Nationals will have a new player on their bench, Jhonatan Solano, who becomes the fifth different catcher on the roster already this year. And, in a nice twist of fate, Solano's brother Donovan was just called up by the Marlins last week.
Updates and analysis to come, so please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Marlins Park
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
LF Corey Brown
C Carlos Maldonado
RHP Edwin Jackson
SS Jose Reyes
2B Omar Infante
3B Hanley Ramirez
RF Giancarlo Stanton
1B Logan Morrison
CF Bryan Petersen
C John Buck
LF Chris Coghlan
RHP Anibal Sanchez
HP Dan Iassogna, 1B James Hoye, 2B Jim Joyce (cc), 3B Jim Reynolds
6:45 p.m. -- Today's not-good injury news: Chad Tracy will have surgery Thursday to repair a groin tear. He'll miss at least 6 to 8 weeks. Full story here.
6:48 p.m. -- In other news, the Nationals have re-acquired outfielder Erik Komatsu. Komatsu was selected by the Cardinals in the Rule 5 draft in December, then was claimed by the Twins. Once Minnesota decided not to keep him on its 25-man roster, he was offered back to the Nationals for $25,000. Komatsu will report to Class AAA Syracuse.
7:10 p.m. -- And we are underway as Anibal Sanchez starts off Steve Lombardozzi with a strike.
7:13 p.m. -- Nothing happening for the Nats in the top of the first as Sanchez retires the side on 12 pitches (nine strikes). He particularly made Byrce Harper look bad striking out on a breaking ball in the dirt.
7:18 p.m. -- Meanwhile, at Class A Potomac, Michael Morse walked in his first plate appearance tonight.
7:23 p.m. -- It was shaping up to be a dicey bottom of the first for Edwin Jackson, who served up a two-out double to Hanley Ramirez and then walked Giancarlo Stanton on four pitches. And when Logan Morrison sent a line drive toward shallow right-center, it appeared the Marlins would be on the board first. But Steve Lombardozzi saved the day with a leaping catch of the liner, robbing Morrison of an RBI hit and bailing out Jackson. It remains scoreless after one.
7:32 p.m. -- Looks like the same old, same old so far for the Nats against Sanchez. Ian Desmond did manage to battle his way through a long at-bat, fouling off a bunch of 0-2 pitches before finally grounding out to short. That, unfortunately, was the highlight of the second inning from the Nationals' perspective.
7:51 p.m. -- They don't have anything to show for it, but the Nationals are making Sanchez work a little bit. He's already thrown 52 pitches to five batters through three innings. No hits, but Carlos Maldonado did draw a walk. ... Meanwhile at Potomac, Morse struck out swinging at a 2-2 fastball in his second plate appearance of the night.
7:58 p.m. -- Jackson, on the other hand, has been much more efficient. He's faced one more batter than Sanchez but has thrown 15 fewer pitches. That could bode well for the Nats as this game plays out, perhaps allowing Jackson to stay in the game longer. Still scoreless through three.
8:03 p.m. -- Four innings down, and no hits for the Nats yet against Sanchez. Maldonado's third inning walk represents their entire offensive production so far.
8:24 p.m. -- There goes Sanchez's no-hitter ... and his shutout. Desmond leads off the fifth with a single to left, then steals second and takes third on John Buck's errant throw. That set the stage for Corey Brown to record his first career RBI, which he did in style ... on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze. Nicely done. The Nats take a 1-0 lead in the fifth.
8:33 p.m. -- Jackson is putting together quite an outing here. He's through five innings now, having allowed only one hit and two walks. And his pitch count is at a very manageable 63. He should have plenty left in the tank.
8:40 p.m. -- Bryce Harper notches his fourth triple in 108 career at-bats, a deep blast to the wall in right-center that probably would have left most parks. He might've even had a shot at an inside-the-parker after center fielder Bryan Petersen went down in a heap. Too bad, because the Nats could've used it after Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to end the top of the sixth. Still 1-0. Meanwhile in Potomac, they're in a rain delay. Michael Morse has two plate appearances: a walk and a strikeout.
8:53 p.m. -- Question for the masses: You've got two outs, a man on third and Giancarlo Stanton at the plate in a 1-0 game. Do you pitch to the hottest hitter in the National League? Obviously, it's easy to second-guess that decision by Davey Johnson, though it also wasn't difficult to first-guess it before Stanton laced an RBI double to left, tying this game 1-1 in the sixth. It also looked even more curious when Jackson subsequently walked Logan Morrison on four pitches. Not saying that was intentional, but you certainly would have thought he'd be more careful with Stanton. Regardless, it's now a 1-1 game as we head to the seventh.
8:59 p.m. -- Desmond notches another single in the seventh, but it's quickly erased by Ankiel's 4-6-3 double play. We've reached the stretch in a 1-1 game.
9:11 p.m. -- And the wheels come falling off for Jackson in the bottom of the seventh. Chris Coghlan sends a one-out single up the middle. Jackson then uncorks a wild pickoff throw, allowing Coghlan to advance all the way to third. Greg Dobbs then sends a flyball to medium left field. Brown gives it a good try, but his throw to the plate is just a tad late, and Coghlan scores to put the Marlins up 2-1.
9:33 p.m. -- Well, that very well might have been your ballgame in the top of the eighth. With one out and a man on second, Davey sent up Danny Espinosa to hit for Roger Bernadina. Ozzie countered with right-hander Steve Cishek. Who proceeded to walk Espinosa and Lombardozzi, loading the bases for Bryce Harper. But the Nats squandered that golden opportunity. An overly aggressive Harper struck out on three pitches, the last one a fastball up and out of the zone. And then Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a fielder's choice at third, giving him three runners stranded in scoring position over his last two at-bats. It remains a 2-1 game heading to the bottom of the eighth, and the Nats are in serious trouble.
9:36 p.m. -- Make that REALLY serious trouble as Hanley Ramirez destroys a Craig Stammen pitch to lead off the bottom of the eighth and light up the Home Run Thingamajig. It's 3-1 now.
9:49 p.m. -- Last chance now. It's LaRoche, Desmond and a pinch-hitter (Jhonatan Solano?) in the ninth against Heath Bell.
9:58 p.m. -- It's over. Solano makes his big-league debut with two outs in the ninth and actually delivers a double down the right-field line to keep the game alive. But Xavier Nady lines out to right to end it. Final: Marlins 3, Nats 1. It's only the Nats' fourth series lost this season.