Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler starts the rubber game tonight at Marlins Park.
Ross Detwiler gets the start, looking to continue his stellar performances from his first two outings this year (and perhaps actually be rewarded with the win this time). Ricky Nolasco, whom the Nationals beat on Opening Day in D.C., makes his fourth start of the year for Miami.
The lineup hasn't been posted yet, but Davey Johnson was hoping to have both Bryce Harper and Denard Span back after each missed last night's game with flu-like symptoms. The chances of Danny Espinosa returning from a bruised right hand seemed less likely.
[UPDATE AT 5:15 P.M.] — Harper is back in the lineup, but Span and Espinosa remain out. Span said he's feeling much better today, but he's still recovering from a long night dealing with the flu. Espinosa, meanwhile, is "50/50" to play on Friday, according to Johnson.
Updates to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Marlins Park
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 186
RF Jayson Werth
2B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
CF Roger Bernadina
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Ross Detwiler
LF Juan Pierre
2B Donovan Solano
3B Placido Polanco
CF Justin Ruggiano
1B Greg Dobbs
RF Austin Kearns
C Miguel Olivo
SS Chris Valaika
RHP Ricky Nolasco
HP Greg Gibson
1B Mike Estabrook
2B Alan Porter
3B Jerry Layne (cc)
5:15 p.m. — Harper is back in the lineup, but Span and Espinosa remain out. Span said he's feeling much better today, but he's still recovering from a long night dealing with the flu. Espinosa, meanwhile, is "50/50" to play on Friday, according to Johnson.
7:12 p.m. — We are underway, with the roof actually open here! This place feels completely different when you can see the sky and the downtown skyline beyond left field. Jayson Werth taps a soft grounder toward the mound on Ricky Nolasco's first pitch, so there's already one out.
7:17 p.m. — Guess Bryce Harper is feeling fine. He laced a base hit up the middle off Nolasco, though given the fact he homered twice off the Marlins ace on Opening Day, Nolasco has to feel pretty good about the result right there. Nothing else for the Nats in the top of the first. Here's Ross Detwiler taking the mound.
7:24 p.m. — Good stuff from Detwiler in the bottom of the first. Though he allowed a two-out single to Placido Polanco, he otherwise was sharp and blew away Justin Ruggiano on a 95 mph fastball to end the inning. 13 pitches, 10 strikes. Scoreless after one.
7:38 p.m. — And the Nats are on the board, thanks to singles by Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond, some heads-up baserunning by both guys and then some productive outs by Roger Bernadina and Kurt Suzuki. LaRoche actually went first to third on Desmond's base hit to left. (That should tell you how little the Nats respect Juan Pierre's arm.) Desmond then stole second (though replays showed he may have been out.) Bernadina still doesn't have a hit this season, but he's got an RBI now after a grounder to short that scored LaRoche. Suzuki then lofted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Desmond and giving the Nats a 2-0 lead in the second.
7:49 p.m. — Though he's given up three hits, Detwiler is pounding the strike zone, throwing almost entirely fastballs yet again. 25 of 32 pitches for strikes so far, and he's got three strikeouts, helping him strand two baserunners in the bottom of the second.
8:07 p.m. — He's still giving up hits, including a double to Polanco in the third, but Detwiler isn't giving any free passes, and he continues to pound the strike zone. 35 of 46 pitches for strikes through three scoreless, the Nats still leading 2-0.
8:26 p.m. — Detwiler keeps chugging along. He retired the side in the fourth on 15 pitches. He's yet to walk a batter and he continues to rely almost exclusively on his fastball. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Still 2-0 heading to the fifth.
8:34 p.m. — Great at-bat from Suzuki to lead off the fifth. He battled his way to a 3-2 count, then blasted a fastball from Nolasco deep to left for his second homer of the season. It landed in the Nats bullpen, just to the left of the Clevelander bar. So don't worry everyone, no dancing girls were harmed on the play. 3-0 Nats in the fifth.
8:45 p.m. — The Marlins get on the board in the bottom of the fifth, though it looks like they shouldn't have been awarded that run. Chris Valaika came charging around third on Donovan Solano's base hit to right. Werth fired home and Suzuki applied the tag, appearing to get Valaika's head before his hand touched the plate. Plate umpire Greg Gibson initially started to make the "out" motion before quickly changing it to a safe call. That didn't sit well with Suzuki or Davey Johnson, who was pretty animated as he came out of the dugout to argue. Regardless, it's now a 3-1 lead for the Nationals heading to the sixth.
8:58 p.m. — And the Nats get the run right back. Harper started it off with a double, making him 3-for-3 tonight and 5-for-6 with two homers this season against Nolasco. Zimmerman moved him to third on a groundball to the right side. LaRoche then drove him in with a base hit to left. So it's 4-1 now as Detwiler takes the mound for the bottom of the sixth.
9:20 p.m. — Make it 5-1, thanks to a ... wait, a triple by Kurt Suzuki into the left-field corner??? I don't believe what I just saw. Suzuki is now hitting .375 for the season. Pretty remarkable. He came around to score here on Lombardozzi's RBI single. So that gives Detwiler some more breathing room as he takes the mound for the bottom of the seventh, his pitch count at 91. No action in the bullpen, yet.
9:31 p.m. — That should do it for Detwiler, who finished off a very impressive night. His final line: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 107 pitches, 80 strikes. That's a new career-high in pitches for the lefty, who now sports a 0.90 ERA through three starts. More good news: Zimmerman has successfully handled both groundballs hit to him so far tonight. Still 5-1 going to the eighth.
9:43 p.m. — Tyler Clippard in for the bottom of the eighth, but more significantly, Chad Tracy is in at third base, replacing Ryan Zimmerman. Not sure what's going on there. Have to wonder if Zim's hamstring is acting up again.
9:48 p.m. — And Clippard gets through the eighth on all of 11 pitches. Nicely done. Looks like Rafael Soriano (who hasn't pitched since Thursday) is warming for the ninth, even though it's not a save situation.
9:54 p.m. — Make it a 4-hit night for Harper, who even managed to leg out an infield single while battling the flu. That gave the Nats another insurance run, so it's now 6-1 as Soriano enters for his first appearance in six days.
10:05 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win, 6-1. They'll head to New York for the weekend feeling much better about themselves, having taken two of three in Miami to improve to 9-6 overall.