Sunday, September 9, 2012

Game 140: Marlins at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals seek a series victory over the Marlins this afternoon.
This won't rank among the Nationals' most significant accomplishments this season, but should they win today, they would cross one more hurdle off their list: Beating the Marlins in a season series.

Entering this afternoon's game, the Nats are 9-8 against Miami. They haven't boasted a winning record against their pesky rivals from South Florida since 2007 (when they also went 10-8). In fact, from 2008-11, they were an abominable 21-50 against the Fish, who for some reason have always been a thorn in this franchise's side.

So Edwin Jackson and Co. will try to put an official end to that losing history today, with Jackson (celebrating his 29th birthday) also seeking his 10th win of the season (to join Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann as double-digit game winners in the Nats rotation).

You'll notice a couple of surprising names missing from the Nationals' lineup: Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond. It's rare either guy gets a day off, but Davey Johnson has wanted to give both players a chance for a break before we hit the final stretch of the season.

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the District. I've been told there are a few NFL games being played today, so if your TV is fixed on that sport this afternoon, rest assured you can get plenty of updates on the best team in baseball right here...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, Ch. 50,
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from LF
2B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
3B Chad Tracy
SS Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Edwin Jackson

MARLINS (62-78)
LF Bryan Petersen
CF Justin Ruggiano
SS Jose Reyes
RF Giancarlo Stanton
1B Carlos Lee
3B Greg Dobbs
2B Donovan Solano
C Rob Brantly
RHP Ricky Nolasco

HP Tony Randazzo
1B Bob Davidson
2B Brian Gorman (cc)
3B Todd Tichenor

1:36 p.m. -- We are underway. Birthday boy Edwin Jackson fires a ball high to Bryan Petersen to get this one started.

1:45 p.m. -- You can usually tell what kind of day Jackson is going to have based on his first inning. If that pattern holds true, he appears poised for a nice afternoon. He struck out Petersen on a nasty slider, and though he issued a 1-out walk to Justin Ruggiano, he then induced a 6-4-3 double play out of Jose Reyes to end the inning on 15 pitches.

1:51 p.m. -- Wait, did they just replay the top of the first, with uniforms switched? Ricky Nolasco struck out Steve Lombardozzi, then issued a one-out walk to Bryce Harper, then got Jayson Werth to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Exact same that happened in the top of the first. Weird. Scoreless after one.

2:07 p.m. -- That was ... well, that was not pretty. The Marlins sent three straight, two-out, groundball singles up the middle to bring home the first run of the day. Not saying any of those plays should have been made, but it's worth noting that the Espinosa-Lombardozzi middle infield combo doesn't quite have the range of the Desmond-Espinosa middle infield combo. You'd at least think the regular alignment would have had a shot at making one of those plays. It wouldn't have been that big a deal, except Harper then lost Nolasco's flyball to center field in the sun. The ball fell harmlessly to the ground, and when Espinosa dropped Harper's relay throw, two runs crossed the plate. Just like that, the Marlins are up 3-0 in the second inning.

2:34 p.m. -- Hmm, the Nats don't have a hit through three innings against Nolasco. Long way to go, obviously, but they haven't exactly made much solid contact against the right-hander so far.

2:47 p.m. -- Looks like Bad Edwin showed up on his birthday. A leadoff walk in the fourth set the table for the Marlins to score two more runs. Six of their seven hits today have come with two outs. In Jackson's defense, three of the hits were groundball singles and another was the two-run "double" that Harper lost in the sun. But he hasn't exactly looked sharp so far. The Nats trail 5-0 in the fourth.

2:54 p.m. -- Four innings in the books, zero hits for the Nats against Nolasco.

3:05 p.m. -- And Captain Hook makes an early appearance today. Davey takes the ball from Jackson with two outs in the fifth after he allowed another run. His final line: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HBP, 80 pitches, 50 strikes. The Nats trail 6-0 and are still looking for their first hit of the day.

3:18 p.m. -- Well, at least they got a hit. Morse sends a solid single to left with one out in the fifth. Though he was immediately erased on a 3-6-1 double play. So Nolasco has still faced the minimum through five. It's still 6-0. Not much to see here today, folks.

3:26 p.m. -- So, on August 28, the Nationals were shut out by Nolasco in Miami. Over their next 11 games, they scored 84 runs. Until today. They've been shut out by Nolasco through six innings. Guess that's baseball for you.

3:29 p.m. -- Oh look, Giancarlo Stanton just homered. I believe that's his 478th of the year against the Nationals. His batting average against them is 3.512. It's 7-0 Marlins in the seventh.

3:50 p.m. -- We've got massive changes for the Nats. It's turned into a spring training game. Mark DeRosa now at first base, with LaRoche pulled. Roger Bernadina now in center field, with Werth pulled and Harper shifted to right field. Michael Gonzalez now pitching the eighth inning of a 7-0 game.

4:03 p.m. -- Hey, Gonzalez struck out Stanton! Give him the Cy Young! Of course, he then gave up an RBI single to Carlos Lee. So it's now 8-0 in the eighth. Anybody out there still watching?

4:17 p.m. -- Now Stanton loses a ball in the sun. Boy, the Nats better hope MLB doesn't schedule any afternoon postseason games here. That could be a real problem.

4:24 p.m. -- Nolasco takes the mound in search of his second complete-game shutout of the Nats in 12 days.

4:31 p.m. -- It's over. Nolasco goes the distance against the Nats again, and the Marlins win 8-0. The Nats end their season 9-9 against Miami, so they still haven't won a season series from them since 2007. Meanwhile, the Braves won in New York, so the lead in the NL East suddenly is down to 5 1/2 games.


Knoxville Nat said...

Glad to see Lombo getting a start today as he needs some AB's and some reps in the infield. Resting Zimmerman and Desmond also a good idea. Go Nats!!!

Eugene in Oregon said...

Happy birthday, Mr. Jackson. How about some nice run support from your offense as a present? Put some pressure on Mr. Nolasco early, then keep it on; don't let up. The best way to end a home stand is with a curly W to take with you to New York. GYFNG!

mick said...

glad to see Lombo as well

mick said...

oh.... have fun gang, I am leaving for ball park right now GO NATS!!!!!

Jim Webster said...

Continued from previous thread...

Broiled fish.
A lovely dish.

NatsFanJim said...

I read this morning that Davey is most unhappy and growing impatient with Zimm's pathetic throws. Davey knows what no one else dares to admit: You can't go far in the post season with a defensive liability at 3B. another way: a 3B with a lolipop throw will cost you one day -- and the Gods will make it happen when it matters.

Welcome Lombo.

SonnyG10 said...

Go Nats. Let's take the season series today.

Theophilus T. S. said...

NatsFanJim received a Howler from Peric.

Faraz Shaikh said...

it is gonna be a tough game I think. don't want to sound negative, but Zim is about one player who owns Nolasco. Besides Jackson has like 1-5 record or something. Good luck Nats!!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Balkin' Bob Davidson at first base umpire.

Over/under on today's balks: 1.5

Come to a complete stop at the stretch, do not pass go, do not collect $200, comb your hair in a neat part, have your spikes spit-shined, do not blink during the national anthem. Balkin' Bob is in the house.

A DC Wonk said...

Fear and Ignorance said...

I hope he never throws another pitch for this organization. Putting him in this situation is all Rizzo's fault,

"Putting him in this situation".

Rigghhhttt. Perhaps it went down like this:

One night in 2010, Rizzo sent covert henchmen doctors over to Strasburg's residence. Once there, they administered anesthesia, and got into Stras' elbow and snipped part of his tendon -- ensuring it would snap and end up requiring TJ surgery.

That was the easy part -- what folks don't know until this day is how Strasburg didn't notice anything the next morning.

Be that as it may, it was quite a feat, and, so, yes, we can lay the blame here completely on Rizzo. If I were Stras, I'd be plenty angry at Rizzo for that, too.

F&I, you gotta better explanation?

Swift Eagle said...

Jack, there's a piece in the WashPost about Ryan working on his throwing mechanics with Jeff Garber...but the part about Davey being "unhappy and impatient" is total troll make-believe BS...but I'm sure you already knew that...

The Retired Journalist said...

There's football today? As I tell people, I don't pay attention to minor sports until after the World Series.

Doc said...

Where'd you read about that NatsFan Jim?

Last I heard, Davey said Zim's occasional abberrant throws weren't a concern for him. Not that managers don't speak with forked tongues sometimes.

However good Lombo is at 3B,which is pretty good, I don't think that he can replace Zim. Lombo's arm isn't as good as Zim's, even on a day when Zim is airmailing it.

hiramhover said...

DC Wonk

Not a bad response, but that kind of troll-ery probably doesn't deserve a response in the first place.

Doc said...

Hey NatsJack, since we have you on the line, give us your take on your scouting work on CGar?

I read a while ago that Christian was listed on the Nats' roster for the AFL. Wad's that all about?? Garcia has passed go in AA, AAA, and is doing the real deal in The Bigs!

Are the Nats trying to showcase him for a possible trade?

Jus' wonderin'.

Candide said...

Was offline most of yesterday, and had to replace my modem this am. So for those of you breathlessly awaiting my reflections on yesterday's game:

Cunegonde was in Dallas (she's flying home as I write this), so I took a friend along. Was worried that Zimm might repeat his performance from his last bobblehead day a couple of years ago, when he celebrated the day by putting on a Golden Sombrero.

Was kinda disgusted with Det at first - couldn't see from section 219 that the ump was squeezing him. But even so, he should have left the field with no worse than a tie game, because three of the Marlins' six runs against him were unearned; really the game shouldn't have gone into extra innings.

I found myself muttering, "C'mon, you guys, these aren't the Cubs any more, you have to BEAT them!"

Thought LaRoche was equally to blame for Zimm's throwing error, but haven't seen the replay. What really bothered me was that the last few games, they haven't been playing sharp defense. Oh sure, not many errors. But there have been a number of balls they didn't quite turn - not ruled errors as such, but sharp play would have turned them into outs. Noticed this during the Cubs series.

I told my friend I was going to have to leave no later than 4:00, because I had to go back to Alexandria, get changed, feed the cat, pick up ski club meeting supplies, and then be in Crystal City by 6:00. I left after the 8th inning, got to my car just as the first rain drops fell, and thirty seconds later, my car was engulfed in a whirlwind of dirt from the concrete plant.

Got home okay, cat was nowhere to be found - she won't go out in the rain, but also won't come in out of it if she gets caught. Changed, packed the car, got to Crystal City in time despite several down trees. Checked game status every 5 minutes on MLB Lite. When I saw it was 6-6, I went to my Nats friend Pete to fill him in.

A little later, I saw the Nats had the bases loaded with one out in the 10th, and told Pete, who was very happy to hear it. Then a couple of minutes later, I saw the score change to 7-6, and in the middle of a crowded room, I yelled, "Woo-HOOOO! Nats WIN!!!"

Sorry, MicheleS - I neglected to give you credit.

Candide said...

OBTW, the Zimm bobblehead has the leg lift. But his head is facing the wrong way - if he actually swung like that, he'd be looking across the plate into section 120 or so as the pitcher was releasing the ball.

Section 222 said...

Ok, so NFJ totally made up having heard that Davey is concerned with Zim's throwing, but don't you think he is? And aren't you? I sure am.

Zim needs to do whatever he needs to do to get over this problem -- whether it's work with Jeff Garber, a sports psychologist, an accupuncturist, a spiritual advisor, a hypnotist, or a witch doctor.

You all know I'm not a troll or a hater. Anyone who thinks this isn't a serious problem is letting their fandom get in the way of their objectivity.

sjm308 said...

2's - count me as one who does not think this is a serious problem.
He makes so many great plays & yet we focus on the poor ones.

First day in Calif. was spectacular.Stone brewery all that it is cracked up to be.
No baseball at 10am but I do have the skins on.
Will be coming back here often for updates

Go NATS. Go playoffs. Score first

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Hey Sunshine I have shocked no balks yet. With Balking Bob @ 1st a balk is almost a sure thing

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I thought Espinosa needed the rest.

Section 222 said...

308, no doubt he makes a lot of great plays. We've both witnessed our fair share, though if you listen to Carp every single play he makes is a web gem, which is a bit much. But he also makes a lot of errors on routine plays. 11 throwing errors already this year. His 14 total errors is 3rd most in the NL. And the problem is getting worse, not better. I'm worried that one of those air mailed throws will come at a very inopportune time in the postseason, and there will be nothing ALR the magician can do to save us.

Doc said...

Thanks NatsJack!

One of the best relief efforts yesterday against the hated Fish in consecutive innings. 2K's by CGar, 3K's each by Tinkerbell, and the Bat Clipper.

Garcia is a real find!!! Imagine 4 consecutive innings next year by MPHRod, Garcia, Storen, & Clip!!!

The destroyed hitters will be looking into getting a vendor's license and selling popcorn and beer at the next game!!!

SCNatsFan said...

To me it almost looks like a loss of concentration at times for Zim.

And this can't be good news for DeRosa that we sit our ss and 3b and he sits in ht esame spot.

phil dunton said...

Espinosa needs a rest a lot more than Desmond does.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

What did I say NatsJack about the shallow play on these pitchers. Probably lost it in the sun but easier to camp in under it.

Exposremains said...

They really play top notch baseball against the Marlins

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

After the first 2 outs I wrote a note to release after 3rd out asking who is doing better SHad or RG III. Amazing 4 hits later I had to change the note. That was a quick change of fortune. Need hitters to reply immediately.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

There CF had frigid too but made the play. The Sun has helped the Marlins get 2 extra runs

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Starting pitching this series has been the weakest link. Might be first series this season we could say that. So far 13 runs 12 earned in 10 innings.

Holden Baroque said...

There CF had frigid too but made the play.

Can someone translate that for me?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Nolasco opposing batting average is .283. If not for the Hard weak hitting against him through 3 games the average would be way over .300

Why can the Hard not him when the rest of the league has no problem.

Secret wasian man said...

Manasss nats, you beat me to it. Probably gonna drop the 7.5 lead to 5.5 lead. Not a good weekend at all. Hope getting away from the fish will help.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Sorry the auto correct is worse than my fingers hitting the key.

what I typed before auto correct screwed it.

Their CF had no problem with son.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Lead off walk as it so often does scores.

5 runs after 2 outs. come on Shad what is the deal.

McCarty as usual is reactionary not preventive in coming to the mound.

MicheleS said...


Secret wasian man said...

Wonder if Edwin is losing sleep. We should shut him down for Zacharski duke. Sorry but I'm frustrated. This pitching for most part has been awful this weekend.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

The starters 12 IP 15 R 13 Earned. as I said worse series of season.

Secret wasian man said...

May I suggest Fox 5. A much more entertaining game to watch.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Mets tie it at 2

Secret wasian man said...

Davey is starting to over manage. Put your best roster in and sit down. Zimm and desi out and we have no hits.

Secret wasian man said...

Hey Manasss are you and I the only ones on here? Hahaha

phil dunton said...

Davey, you woke up a little late from ypur nap!

Exposremains said...

I'm really glad the Marlins will not be in the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

I went over to the BAL-NY game and the O's announcer said "The Nationals take the NL East." At least he thinks we've sewed it up. Maybe Davey does too.

Secret wasian man said...

Heard the same thing. Be quiet bmore guys. Ugh what a jinx.

Secret wasian man said...

Glad Tracy's in for zimm. Nats jack I appreciate your sarcasm and I get it. But you have to admit this game is really lackluster.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I expect to go 162-0 until first loss. Then 161-1 etc

flipping to RG III at commercials.

He has played more consistent against a better team than Shad did today.

Still love Hard despite lethargic effort through 5

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Ok batters don't end this home stand on a pathetic effort. Play like you have most of the series. Nolasco is just not Ch Young like you make him out to be.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

No one got the wake up call for the game I guess.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

David Wright must be waiting til tomorrow to hit, as he usually hits us well. Dinky ground out with go ahead run on third.

Jim Webster said...

How do you spell "discouraged?"

natscan reduxit said...

"... 478th of the year against the Nationals. His batting average against them is 3.512 ..."

... clearly, Mark is ready for some football.

... in the meantime, go nats.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Nats weren't ready for baseball today either

Secret wasian man said...

Fans should get there money back. Gutless. Put the damn best players in and beat the mets.

Secret wasian man said...

What scares the heck out of me is if we should choke the division and end up with wild card that's only one game. And the nats have shown that they can lay some big eggs.

Anonymous said...

They must have the Redskins game on in the dugout!

Anonymous said...

What's all the fuss about Zimmerman's throws? All he has to do is throw like a mad-man, like it's a bang-bang play. He is always accurate on a difficult play, so just always throw like the play is difficult. Problem solved. See, you guys need me.

SCNatsFan said...

An off day. They have earned it. Would have preferred the long trip out of town for Ozzy but no big deal.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Mets walk 2 in top 10 leading to sac fly.

Exposremains said...

5.5. big opportunity miss on last place club.

Secret wasian man said...

Only up 5.5 games now. Bad weekend. Better wake up against mets.

Secret wasian man said...

They keep having DESERVED off days they will blow the division. Bogus comment SCNnatsfan

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

David Wright a Nats killer but is worthless against the Braves

Secret wasian man said...

You shouldn't need the mets help when your playing the last place team at home. Pathetic effort. Pathetic managing.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I have no trouble with days off. That made no difference here. The team was simply not engaged as a group.

Of more concern to me is bad starting pitching 3 straight game.

NatsFanJim said...

To Rabbit: Sounds easy, but it's not so. True Zimmerman does well on bang-bang plays. But his brain cannot fool him into making an easy throw into a bang - bang play.

Psychology 101 - at most.

See, you need me -- but life experience and an education more.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone needs to take Psyc 101 again. 'N it Aint me!

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