Sunday, September 9, 2012

Instant analysis: Marlins 8, Nats 0

US Presswire photo
Ricky Nolasco again dominated the Nationals lineup.
Game in a nutshell: What is it about the Marlins that brings out the worst in the Nationals? It's a mystery. So is Ricky Nolasco, who entered today's game with a 4.64 ERA but tossed a 2-hit shutout to again beat the Nats (he went the distance against them on Aug. 28, and if you go back to his previous start before that, the Nats now haven't scored a run in their last 22 innings against the right-hander. Miami's lineup, meanwhile, feasted on Edwin Jackson for six runs in 4 2/3 innings, though two of the runs scored when Bryce Harper lost a flyball in the sun. That's pretty much the kind of afternoon it was for the Nationals, who finished the season 9-9 against the Marlins but 77-45 against everyone else in the majors. They still closed out quite an impressive homestand, going 8-3 against the Cardinals, Cubs and Fish.

Hitting lowlight: Davey Johnson gave two of his regulars (Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond) the day off, but given the way this lineup produced throughout the homestand, you'd think they were still capable of putting together a couple of rallies. Not with Nolasco on the mound. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth until Michael Morse sent a solid single to left. He faced the minimum into the seventh, until Greg Dobbs committed an error at third base. And he carried a one-hitter into the eighth, until Giancarlo Stanton lost a flyball in the sun. That was the extent of the Nationals' offense in this game.

Pitching lowlight: Starting on his 29th birthday, Jackson gave up six runs over 4 2/3 innings. It wasn't entirely his fault -- the Marlins picked up three straight, two-out, groundball singles up the middle in the top of the second, and then Harper lost that ball in the sun -- but the right-hander didn't help his own cause, either. He walked Donovan Solano to lead off the fourth inning, setting the stage for a two-run rally. And he gave up a leadoff single (followed by a stolen base) in the fifth to set up another run. Jackson surely has had worse outings than this, but he's had much better ones, too.

Key stat: In 20 career games at Nationals Park, Stanton is hitting .392 with 11 homers, 20 RBI, a .456 on-base percentage, a .924 slugging percentage and a 1.380 OPS.

Up next: The Nationals hit the road for a six-game trip through New York and Atlanta. They'll open at Citi Field on Monday, with Gio Gonzalez facing Mets rookie right-hander Collin McHugh at 7:10 p.m.


Secret wasian man said...

Discouraging weekend.

djinFl. said...

I say we repeat the performance you pointed out in your tweet Mark. After last Nolasco shut out we scored 84 runs in 11 games. Works for me.
Travel safe boys.

Secret wasian man said...

We do not want to give the braves a chance to catch us when we play them. Now let's go bury the mets.

JaneB said...

What dj said. And excuse me saying this but the Brsves are due a losing streak soon, aren't they? Sheesh.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Team was totally not engaged in the game.

Bigger concern was a third straight poor starting pitching. Too needs to fix that.

Secret wasian man said...

Braves had there choke job last season. Don't expect it this year. We gotta take care of our own business

JT said...

Losing ground to the Braves while going 8-3 on the homestand isn't the end of the world. I hope they can do to the Mets what the Braves did, sweep em. Maybe the Brewers will deal the Braves some misery this week, they've been playing well and have gotten themselves into wildcard contention so they should give a good effort.

Positively Half St. said...

I am trying to find any silver lining I can, and in doing that I considered if the Dodgers losing tonight would at least reduce the wild card magic number. It turns out that it would, because they are the team just outside looking in. However, I believe the counter on the site is wrong, and that the magic number should already be 11.

Here's why, please explain if I am wrong:

If the Braves catch the Nats, the Nats are the #1 wild card, as it stands. They would have to fall behind the next two wild card contenders to be out of it. That second team would be the Dodgers.

The Dodgers are 74-66, with 22 to play (including tonight). If they won all 22, they would have 96 wins. If the Nats won 11 games more, they would have 97. Therefore, the magic number for the wild card is 11, not 12.

Throw me a bone here, Mark. Let's put the number at 11, and hope the Giants win tonight to get it to 10. I am not interested in a wild card berth, but I need some solace to make up for such a crappy day.


Mark Zuckerman said...

+ 1/2 St.: You are indeed correct. I must've miscalculated last night. Just fixed the Wild Card Magic # to make it 11.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Mark, you forgot two very important notes.

Hitting Highlight: We do not have to play the fish again this season.

Pitching Highlight: We do not have to play the fish again this season.

That's my silver lining, and I'm sticking to it.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Magic. Number is 11

mick said...

Oh well, just got back.... one of those games, but even so, I had a great time at the park and I have to a admit, I had my TV with me watching the Skins.

Just a lost of focus today by everyone. On the bright side, at least we are not O's fan and just lost the heart and soul of team. I really think Sabathia was throwing to his Markakis, not to hurt him but to hit him.

baseballswami said...

I agree -- I am ecstatic that we are done with the fish. I think our split with them is the best we have done in a long time or ever. I know everyone is obsessed with the Braves, but the Nats just need to take care of their own business at this point. There is not one team that is going to win out or lose out. I think their arms were tired from all that hitting that has been going on. Good home stand. Does anyone else wonder why the Miami Marlins have such a poor record? Is it that they are better now that they have cleaned house? I think the Phils are actually better now, too.Addition by subtraction? The Nats need to keep in battle mode the whole way - it's tough on the fans, but teams that clinch early sometimes have trouble ramping back up -- see Phils 2011.Now is when we see who is mentally tough and physically strong. This has been a great season and I am actually starting to get into a whatever will be, will be attitude. Go Nats!

baseballswami said...

And if you haven't seen the pictures yet of the rookies dressed up for their annual train ride to ny in costume - they are dressed in gymnastics leotards. It's a little disturbing.

MicheleS said...

All I can say is GOOD BY AND GOOD RIDDANCE GIANCARLO! Thankfully we are done with him.

Next year, I refuse to go to Marlins games, when I go, we lose, when I sit at home, we win. I left early yesterday just because I thought I was a jinx and Yup, they won!. No more Marlins games.

On a happy note, Rookie Hazing was today.

Here is gio's twitter account with pictures

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