August 4, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 100 Review: Scherzer shuts down Marlins

DREW STOREN PERFECT IN EIGHTH, JONATHAN PAPELBON THE SAME IN NINTH FOR FIRST NATS SAVE

Max Scherzer rebounded from his rocky last start to pitch seven shutout innings, Ryan Zimmerman homered for the first time since returning from the disabled list, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 1-0 on Thursday.

The Nats (54-46) extend their lead in the N.L. East to three games with the Mets loss to San Diego.

Scherzer (W, 11-8, 2.22) allowed just three hits and walked three in his effort, striking out six. He threw 75 of his 109 pitches for strikes, generating nine ground ball outs with just two fly ball outs.

Drew Storen, moved into a set-up role after the acquisition of closer Jonathan Papelbon, struck out two in a hitless eighth inning. Papelbon earned his 18th save of the season — in 18 tries — with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out former Nats Michael Morse for the final out.

Morse was then traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-way trade with Atlanta, then designated for assignment by L.A. before ever getting on a plane.

Miami’s Dan Haren did a good job of limiting the Nats, giving up just four hits in six innings. But two of those were from Zimmerman, who’s 4 for 11 since being activated, and he hit his first homer since May 19 against the Yankees.

The Nats travel to New York to face the Mets in a three-game weekend series. Gio Gonzalez (8-4, 3.83) faces Matt Harvey (9-7, 3.16) on Friday night.

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Miami Marlins

The Washington Nationals look to bounce back from a rough series in Pittsburgh as they continue their 10-game road trip with three in Miami.

The Nats (52-45) lost three out of four in Pittsburgh, but face a free-falling team in the Marlins (41-58). Jayson Werth will reportedly rejoin the lineup on Tuesday, as the Nationals enter the series holding a two-game lead in the National League East, with a matchup in New York against the second-place Mets looming this weekend, with newly-acquired reliever Tyler Clippard available in the Mets pen.

The Last Time…

The last time the Nationals and Marlins faced off was in early May. The Nationals took two out of three from Miami in Washington, as the teams came into that series separated by just a half-game in the standings. (The Nationals are now 12 games in front of Miami.) The Marlins swept a three game series in April in Miami.

In The Other Dugout

The good news: The Nationals will not have to face Giancarlo Stanton in this series. Stanton will begin hitting a ball off a tee as he comes back from a wrist injury, but is not expected to rejoin the Marlins anytime soon. Dee Gordon, on the other hand, may be back from the DL during the series — he suffered a thumb injury just before the All-Star break.

The bad news: The Marlins’ young ace Jose Fernandez has been stellar since coming back from Tommy John surgery, and the Nationals will face him in the series opener on Tuesday night.

Matchup To Watch

If Werth returns for the series, his timing couldn’t be much better — he is hitting .346 combined against Tom Koehler and Dan Haren, Wednesday and Thursday’s Marlins starters. He has two homers against Koehler and one against Haren. He’s only 1 for 8 against Jose Fernandez…but that one hit is also a home run.

For the Marlins, Martin Prado is a combined 15-for-33 against Jordan Zimmermann and Max Scherzer.

Probables

Tuesday, 7:10pm: Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.30 ERA) vs. Jose Fernandez (3-0, 2.77 ERA)

Wednesday, 7:10pm: Doug Fister (3-6, 4.50 ERA) vs. Tom Koehler (8-6, 3.16 ERA)

Thursday, 12:10pm: Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.33 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (7-6, 3.51 ERA)

Washington Nationals Game 28 Review: Strasburg Struggles Due to Shoulder Issue, Marlins Take Advantage

A previous streak of success against the Miami Marlins didn’t provide much solace for Washington’s right-handed starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday night. The Nationals fell to the Marlins 2-1 while Strasburg made an early exit after three innings of work due to discomfort under his right shoulder blade.

Miami took advantage of the opportunity presented to them while Strasburg struggled to settle due to the shoulder irritation. Strasburg’s problems were apparent from the start. Outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna singled and walked with two out in the first inning. Strasburg got out of that situation unscathed but the Marlins found a way to get ahead of the Nats and score.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto led off the second inning with a triple hit past shortstop Ian Desmond, off of Strasburg, before scoring on a RBI-single hit by outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. A bunt attempt by Miami’s starting right-handed pitcher Mat Latos with nobody out and two men on base initiated an error made by Strasburg allowing Ichiro to score and giving the Marlins a 2-0 lead.

Washington answered back with a run in the bottom half of the second inning thanks to a  patient yet aggressive offensive appearance at the plate by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman led off the second inning  against Latos by drawing a walk in an eleven pitch at-bat. Catcher Wilson Ramos followed Zimmerman with a double off Latos moving Zimmerman to third. Second baseman Dan Uggla drove in the only run with a RBI-groundout sending Zimmerman home, allowing the Nats to score, but Miami’s starting pitching proved superior when compared to Strasburg’s short-lived appearance.

Strasburg’s three innings of work included four hits, two runs, two walks, two strikeouts, and one hit batter. He threw 64 pitches and 37 strikes before being replaced by recent call-up and left-handed reliever Sammy Solis in the fourth inning.

Solis made his second Major League appearance with three innings of work while giving up one hit and striking out two batters. Manager Matt Williams was impressed by the amount of strikes Solis has thrown in his pair of outings with Washington thus far. He has thrown five scoreless innings and retired nine of 10 batters faced, including seven straight.

Unfortunately, Washington’s offense tallied only three hits and left eight men on base while drawing six walks against Miami. The Nats’ bullpen posted six spotless innings of work thanks to right-handed relievers Blake Treinen and Aaron Barrett and left-handed reliever Matt Thornton — in addition to Solis, but the lack of offensive productivity left the Nats a run behind; Marlins 2, Nats 1.

HERO: The bullpen for preventing the Marlins from scoring any more runs from the fourth inning onward and Ryan Zimmerman for showing patience in his first at-bat of night, ultimately allowing the Nats to score their sole run.

GOAT: Stephen Strasburg. He’ll be getting his shoulder looked at on Thursday. The silver lining here is that there was mutual acknowledgement from Strasburg and the coaching staff indicating that the best choice for the starter’s health and the team as a whole was to remove him from the game shortly after identifying the issue. Washington made the right move taking him out in order to play it safe and not have him alter his mechanics.

NATS NOTES:

  • Nationals Manager Matt Williams said it seemed unlikely that Strasburg’s shoulder strain will warrant a trip to the disabled list but his condition will be reviewed on Wednesday.
  • Doug Fister had a solid pinch hit at-bat when he hit in Strasburg’s place during the third inning. He had a hard-hit single drop in the outfield but was called out due to a double play induced by outfielder Denard Span. Great piece of hitting though.

UP NEXT: RHP Tom Koehler (2-2, 4.67) and the Miami Marlins face RHP Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26) and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday.

 

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Miami Marlins

What a ten days it’s been for the Marlins and the Nationals. Just a little more than a week ago they were two teams desperate for a win. The Marlins got those desperate wins first, in Miami, sweeping the Nats in a three-game set. They haven’t slowed since, taking two out of three from the Mets and then the Phillies to finish their nine-game homestand 7-2.

The sweep by the Marlins (12-13) came in the midst of a six-game losing streak for the Nationals (12-14), before they turned things around in Atlanta. Washington won their final two games in Atlanta before finishing their 10-game road trip by taking three out of four in New York against the Mets, going 5-5 on the trip.

Now the Marlins and Nationals meet in Washington, separated by a half game in the standings, both hovering around .500, and both within four games of the first place Mets.

The Last Time…

Just when Nationals fans thought they could forget about that three game sweep in Miami, here come the Marlins again. The Nationals scored just four runs in the three games in Miami, and despite putting up 13 runs in back-to-back games in Atlanta and then eight in the series opener in New York, there’s reason to worry about the Nationals’ offense again as they begin another series with the Marlins. The Nats scored just two runs in the final three games against the Mets, though they did come away with 1-0 wins in two of those games.

In The Other Dugout

The Nationals will once again face a Marlins team without Christian Yelich. Yelich began a rehab assignment Sunday, and is scheduled to rejoin the Marlins on Thursday in San Francisco. Ichiro Suzuki has hit well in Yelich’s absence, going 13 for 44 (.296).

Matchups To Watch

  • The Nationals did not see David Phelps when they played the Marlins in Miami. Not many Nationals have faced Monday night’s Marlins starter. Yunel Escobar, from his days in the American League East, has four hits in 11 at-bats against the former Yankees pitcher.
  • Giancarlo Stanton versus Stephen Strasburg is always a matchup worth watching. Stanton was 2 for 2 with a walk against Strasburg on April 25, lifting his career average to 12 for 30 (.400) against the Nationals pitcher.

Probables

Monday, 7:05pm: David Phelps (1-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (2-2, 4.88 ERA)

Tuesday, 7:05pm: Mat Latos (0-3, 6.86 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 4.60 ERA)

Wednesday, 1:05pm: Tom Koehler (2-2, 4.67 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26 ERA)

Nats Nightly: Nationals 6-4 over Marlins – Yunel Escobar 5 for 5 in D.C.

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 6-4 comeback win over the Miami Marlins.

Check Out Baseball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Nats Nightly: Marlins sweep, #Nats twitter weeps

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 6-2 loss to the Miami Marlins to complete a three-game sweep and extend a five-game losing streak.

Check Out Baseball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Nationals Game 19 Review: Gio rocked, Nats swept by Marlins

The Washington Nationals sent Gio Gonzalez to the mound on Sunday looking for a spark and hoping to avoid a sweep and turn things around from what has been a mostly dreary April. Unfortunately for the Nats and their fans, things remained status quo.

Gonzalez got roughed up at the end of his appearance, the offense couldn’t muster much fight against Dan Haren and a parade of Miami Marlins relievers, and the Nats fell 6-2 at cavernous Marlins Park, extending the losing streak to five games. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 18 Review: Nats bats silent, get clobbered by Marlins 8-0

Box Score

Thus far in the 2015 season, the Washington Nationals have made a habit of squandering good starting pitching with lackluster offense and spotty relief pitching.

On Saturday in cavernous Marlins Park, the equation stood, as Stephen Strasburg turned in a performance that should have been enough to be competitive, yet the offense remained moribund, looking completely inept against journeyman Tom Koehler, reliever Rafael Martin got clobbered, and the Nats lost 8-0, their fourth loss in a row. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 17 Review: Nats bullpen falters late again in loss to Marlins

It’s already an oft-told tale in this young baseball season. The Washington Nationals got a good performance from their starting pitcher, but the offense provided little backing and the bullpen faltered when it needed to be perfect. The result: the Nats fell to the Miami Marlins 3-2 before a sparse crowd at cavernous Marlins Park.

Friday night’s recipient of lack of support was Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed just two earned runs on six hits and no walks, striking out four.

The Nats (7-10) broke out on top in the fourth against Marlins starter Mat Latos. Ian Desmond extended his hitting streak to 10 with a leadoff double. He went to second on Jayson Werth’s sacrifice fly to right field, and then scored on Bryce Harper’s long sacrifice fly to center field that Marcell Ozuna tracked down at the wall some 410 feet from home plate.

Ryan Zimmerman followed with a double, but was stranded when Yunel Escobar grounded out to end the inning.

Zimmermann cruised through the early innings but ran into trouble with two outs in the fifth. Four consecutive singles by the Marlins (6-11), including an RBI single by pitcher Mat Latos, pushed across both runs Zimmermann gave up on the night. It could have been worse, but Bryce Harper threw out Dee Gordon on the last of the hits trying to extend it into a double.

The Nats tied it in the next inning, as Denard Span walked, stole second, and scored on Harper’s RBI single to right.

It stayed tied until the bottom of the eighth. Against reliever Tanner Roark (L, 0-2), in his second inning of work, Adeiny Hechavarria doubled to lead off.  After a failed sacrifice attempt lead to the first out, manager Matt Williams called on lefty Matt Grace to face Gordon. Gordon hit slow roller to second, but Dan Uggla couldn’t make a play.

Williams then went to Aaron Barrett, and Gordon stole second, then Martin Prado delivered a single against Barrett to push across the winning run.

The Nats went 1-2-3 against Marlins closed Steve Cishek in the ninth.

HERO: Bryce Harper. He was responsible for almost all of the Nats offense. 2 for 2, walk, 2 RBIs.

GOAT: Aaron Barrett. Hard to make a guy who gave up one hit a goat, but with the offense still struggling to produce runs on a regular basis, every mistake the bullpen makes is amplified.

NATS NOTES:

  • Super Slider: Jordan Zimmermann’s slider was biting early, striking out Martin Prado, Giancarlo Stanton and Michael Morse in succession split between the first and second innings.
  • Doubling up: Ryan Zimmerman’s double in the fourth inning was the 300th of his career.
  • Struggle Bus: Everyone’s on it, but Jayson Werth went 0 for 3 to lower his average to .152.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 4:10 pm Eastern at Miami. Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 4.50) faces Tom Koehler (1-2, 6.75).

Washington Nationals Series Preview: at Florida Marlins

by John Sucich, contributor

Overview

The pre-season predictions would have had you believe the first matchup of the season between the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins would feature two teams fighting for dominance at the top of the National League East. This weekend’s matchup in Miami features two fighting teams, but not exactly for dominance…yet.

The 7-9 Nationals’ fight right now is to get on the right side of .500. They lost two straight to the Cardinals to end a 4-3 homestand that began when they took three out of four from the Phillies. The Nationals begin a 10-game road trip with three games in Miami followed by three in Atlanta and then they finish in New York to face the Mets for four. The Nationals have not fared well on the road thus far, going 1-2 in both Philadelphia and Boston before the just-completed homestand. Reinforcements are on the way — the team hopes to see the return of Anthony Rendon some time next week.

For the Marlins, a fight for a .500 record would be a luxury. Miami comes into the series against the Nationals looking to keep its season alive…and possibly to save manager Mike Redmond’s job. The team seems to have responded to rumors that its disappointing start could result in an early-season managerial change. The Marlins snapped a five-game losing streak with a win against the Phillies Wednesday night and won big on Thursday to up their record to 5-11 as the Nats come to town.

The Last Time….

The Marlins and Nationals last met on the last day of the 2014 season, a game you may remember: Jordan Zimmermann no-hit the Marlins in a 1-0 win where he walked one batter and struck out 10. The Nationals were 13-6 against the Marlins last year.

In The Other Dugout

Don’t expect to see much of Christian Yelich this weekend. Yelich is nursing a back injury that could well result in his being placed on the disabled list. Ichiro Suzuki is expected to pick up playing time in Yelich’s place.

Matchup To Watch

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has not had a great start to the 2015 season, but he will face Stephen Strasburg on Saturday. In his career Stanton is 10 for 28 against Strasburg, with three home runs.

Also worth noting, Mat Latos has had a rough start to 2015, but Washington might want to be careful Friday night: Nationals hitters have not put up good numbers against Latos in the past. He owns a lifetime .201/.307/.299 slash against the Nats.

Probables

Friday, 7:10pm: Jordan Zimmermann (1-2, 6.14 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (0-3, 10.24 ERA)

Saturday, 4:10pm: Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Tom Koehler (1-2, 6.75 ERA)

Sunday, 1:10pm: Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 3.44 ERA)  vs. Dan Haren (1-1, 3.32 ERA)

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