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Marlins 2, Nats 1: Strasburg exits early, bats go silent

May 5, 2015, 10:40 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After a 28-minute rain delay, Stephen Strasburg took the mound trying to duplicate his rotation mates’ recent string of dominance and pitch the Nationals to their fourth straight win. Something, though, clearly wasn’t right with Strasburg from the beginning, who labored through three innings, was visited on the mound by a trainer and had dugout conversations with pitching coach Steve McCatty after each inning.

With their starter pulled after only three frames, the Nationals needed something extra out of their bullpen, and they got it from Sammy Solis, who tossed three scoreless innings in his second career appearance. Blake Treinen, Matt Thornton and Aaron Barrett each put up a zero as well, keeping the Nationals’ deficit at 2-1 throughout the evening.

But they simply couldn’t push across the tying run against Mat Latos or a Miami bullpen that combined to allow only three hits in the entire game, only one after the third inning. Thus concluded a frustrating night for the Nationals, whose winning streak is over and who now wait to find out Strasburg’s status.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: They didn’t have many opportunities, not when they only managed three hits in the game (one of which was a pinch-hit by Doug Fister of all people). Perhaps their best chance to rally, though, came in the seventh, when Latos issued a pair of walks. The Nats still couldn’t deliver the big hit. Ian Desmond struck out looking at an admittedly outside fastball. Michael Taylor grounded into a fielder’s choice and Clint Robinson was robbed of a potential game-tying hit by a diving Dee Gordon at second base. That’s the kind of night it was.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: We don’t know yet what exactly was wrong with Strasburg, but something certainly didn’t look right. He grimaced after throwing several pitches, and his command was all over the place (he even hit a batter on a wayward changeup). Matt Williams and head trainer Lee Kuntz did come out to check on Strasburg during the second inning, but whatever was troubling him wasn’t enough to warrant his immediate removal from the game. The right-hander wound up returning for the top of the third and emerged with a scoreless frame. But that was all the Nats needed to see on this night. Strasburg departed having thrown 64 pitches in three innings, clearly not himself.

KEY STAT: Fister became the first Nats pitcher to record a pinch-hit since Beltran Perez on Sept. 27, 2006.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up with a 1:05 p.m. matinee Wednesday. Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26) gets the start against right-hander Tom Koehler (2-2, 4.67).

  1. Danny - May 5, 2015 at 10:41 PM

    We are awful at manufacturing runs

  2. scnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    Three terrible at bats to end the game. Marlins tried to give us the game but Nats tried harder to look horrid at the dish.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2015 at 7:07 AM

      +1 that error at 2nd was a gift. 2nd and 1st with no outs.

  3. Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 10:45 PM

    Awful HP umpire, but the Nats didn’t play good enough to win anyway.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 11:08 PM

      Umps throughout the league behind the plate. Not just for or against us.

      Would live sit a day or two with Joe Torre watching 3 or 4 games and let him defend the terrible plate umping we have seen the last couple of weeks.

  4. NatsLady - May 5, 2015 at 10:46 PM

    Was at the game up through the 7th inning. All the punch went out of the guys when Stras left the game. Maybe they got some mojo back after I left…

    Waste of a great bullpen effort. Even Treinen managed to not leak a run…

    • NatsLady - May 5, 2015 at 10:48 PM

      Ray Knight saying what I feel also–too many call third strikes. All season. Even Desi, which is amazing.

      • David Proctor - May 5, 2015 at 10:51 PM

        In Desi’s defense, both called strikes were balls. And the second one he struck out on was much farther inside than the previous one. It was ridiculous.

        But I do agree that we are taking way too many called strikes as a team, including some pitches that are right down the middle. A lot of infield popups too.

      • Steady Eddie - May 5, 2015 at 11:23 PM

        Got new posted —

        Just looked at Pitch F/X — Aling with a bunch of not that outrageous, marginal strike calls, Latos got three genuinely outrageous gifts — two that were several inches inside (one was strike three to Desi), one that was way outside.

        The Nats’ pitchers got fewer but still some marginal calls their way, but only one gift, a strike one way outside from Solis.

        Two Nats pitches that were fully within the strike zone were called balls, one from Stras, one from (I think) Solis.

        No Fish pitchers had strikes that were called balls.

        Make if this what you will, but a lousy SZ clearly not called evenly for both teams.

        Give me robot B-S calls! We have too many BS B-S calls from human umps.

      • Tyler Babip - May 6, 2015 at 1:03 AM

        +1 to Steady Eddie. Bring on the robots.

      • nats106 - May 6, 2015 at 8:37 AM

        I’ll be back…..

      • natsdial8 - May 6, 2015 at 10:09 AM

        Must ” protect the plate” in a 2 strike count . NO excuse getting called out looking. And , a pitch inches out of zone should be given a whack , especially with a bad ump.

  5. manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    They need a new voice coaching the batters. The approach is terrible, it systematic since almost everyone’s approach is not aggressive.

    We let to many fastballs go. We swing at way to many poor sliders, again systematic.

    Ray Knight for hitting coach.

    • Section 222 - May 5, 2015 at 11:45 PM

      Oh give it up on Ray Knight will you? Never gonna happen.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 11:53 PM

        It needs to be someone who is aggressive about him if not him someone else, we have had way passive coaching despite a winning team.

        I will not give it up.

      • Section 222 - May 5, 2015 at 11:55 PM

        Between Ray Knight and sending injured players to chiropractor, you’re living in a dream world my friend.

  6. manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 10:51 PM

    Our batting average tonight 3 for 30 .100.

    With RISP 0 for 8 .000

  7. faridrushdi - May 5, 2015 at 10:51 PM

    I still think this past 10 days have given us a bit of a false sense of hope. This is not a good situational hitting team and I’m afraid the way Matt manages exacerbates it. With runners on first and second with no one out, bring in someone who can bunt, a pitcher, someone. I get you burn a player and Uggla has his uses but he hasn’t been asked to bunt much in his career or move runners over. And though I like Michael Taylor, he’s a strikeout machine. You need someone there who can make contact. I get he has power and can do some amazing things, but with just two hits in eight innings, you have to get creative. The last thing you want there is a strikeout.

    The Nats might still win 93 games this year, but something has to be done with how the team hits more than how often they hit.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 10:54 PM

      Since Espi pinch run Burning Uggla is a non issue.

    • nats128 - May 6, 2015 at 7:31 AM

      You have JZ to bunt and insert Espi into his spot. Duh!

  8. manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 10:53 PM

    I don’t trust any Nats doctor. I would send him in a heartbeat to my chiropractor. My shoulder feels so much better after I see him.

    • sec105rowwseat28 - May 5, 2015 at 11:37 PM

      Unfortunately Tatiana the magic fingers massage therapist who cured Dmitri Young no longer works for the team.

      • nats128 - May 6, 2015 at 7:34 AM

        So true!

  9. Eugene in Oregon - May 5, 2015 at 10:54 PM

    I had to leave for a dinner just as Michael Taylor was striking out to end the 2nd inning. Having runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs and scoring only one run was disappointing. But even more difficult is wrapping my head around the notion that the Nats could only score one run total. Off of Matt Latos. Wow. Will watch the replay (at least the condensed version) later. But not really looking forward to it.

    • nats128 - May 6, 2015 at 7:37 AM

      This is what people brought up on Saturday and Sunday that only scoring 1 run in those 1-0 wins pointed to a ongoing issue of the failures of adding on runs when you have a runner on third and less than 2 outs.

      In last nights game it cost a win. Situational hitting was bad.

  10. David Proctor - May 5, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    Uggla looked very uncomfortable bunting. I agree someone should have hit for him. Then Espinosa, who ran for Ramos, could stay in at 2B and Lobaton could replace whatever pitcher hit (if necessary). They practice bunting though and Uggla still should’ve gotten it down. My bigger concern with the bunt is that you’re then asking Michael Taylor for a productive out. Did anyone think he was going to make contact with Cishek’s slider?

    If you bunt Uggla, you have to then PH Werth for Taylor because you need contact. I probably would have pinch hit Werth for Taylor even after Uggla failed to get the bunt down, unless there’s something we don’t know about Werth’s status.

    It’s hard to focus too much on the managerial moves in the 9th when we had three hits all night and one of them was by Fister. Just a putrid offensive performance all around. The bullpen was fantastic at least. Solis has really impressed.

    • Section 222 - May 5, 2015 at 11:52 PM

      Big +1 on the questionable strategy of expecting a constructive out from MAT in the 9th. But the answer to that is to not have Uggla bunt in the first place. He’s the guy who hit a 3-run homer to win a game last week and you’re taking the bat out of his hands? With first and second and none out and speedy runners on base, we had a golden opportunity to win the game. Playing for a tie was the wrong move.

      I also think MW should have considered PHing for Taylor in the 7th, with Werth if available or even CRob. MAT looks overmatched up there unfortunately.

      • nats128 - May 6, 2015 at 7:40 AM

        JZ for Uggla and then Espi who was all ready in the game as a pinchrunner can go into 2nd base if the game went into extra innings.

  11. Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 11:02 PM

    MW is talking rather cryptically regarding Werth. Says he was available for emergency use only.

    Off topic, but tonight in Minnesota with a 2-1 Oakland lead, Tyler Clippard came in with one out and runners on first and third in the bottom of the 8th and got out of the jam. He then came back out for the bottom of the 9th and had a 1-2-3 inning for the save.

    • sec105rowwseat28 - May 6, 2015 at 8:41 AM

      Very poorly framed question by the reporter (sounded like Mark Zuckerman) is what elicited that cryptic answer from MW. The questioning was something like “Was Werth available for emergency use, or was this just a normal night off?” The answer of course is “both”, which is always the case when a non-injured player gets a night off, isn’t it?

      Perhaps a better retort from MW would have been this: “Define emergency.” This questioning is just the latest example of what’s wrong with beat reporters these days. They figure out in their minds how their story will lay out, then decide what sound bites they need to advance their narrative, and frame questions to try to get the manager to say the words they want to put into that narrative. In the old days, when reporters were reporters and men were men, they would just let the guy talk and if he said something interesting they’d write it down. Then they’d assemble whatever quotes they got into a story, letting the narrative define itself.

  12. Eric - May 5, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    Any work word on Stras?

    • manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 11:06 PM

      Needs an adjustment from a chiropractor

  13. manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    As Promise Latos stats. Top line vs. Nats bottom line the rest

    12.2 IP. 8 H 3 ER 6 BB 10 K 2.13 ERA

    14.2 IP 22 H 14 ER 8 BB 13 K 8.59 ERA

    what’s the deal. He is terrible against others. Bring on Ray Knight.

  14. Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 11:07 PM

    Stras has some pain below his shoulder blade. WIlliams was worried that he was altering his mechanics and didn’t want him to hurt something else.

    • Eric - May 5, 2015 at 11:14 PM

      That looked like quite a lot of pain at a couple points…kind of concerning…

      • ehay2k - May 5, 2015 at 11:28 PM

        Stras said in the post game presser that it was bothering him for a while but was getting worse. Huh? Did the team doctors know about this? That’s all we need is a shoulder injury caused by neglect.

  15. AlexandriaNatFan - May 5, 2015 at 11:39 PM

    Two random comments:

    1) I was at the game and Solis was very impressive.

    2) Have MASN on in the background here at home and I cannot stand the Orioles broadcast team. Good god we are lucky with the guys we have.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 11:56 PM

      +1

    • sec105rowwseat28 - May 6, 2015 at 8:44 AM

      Which Orioles broadcast team? Thorne and Palmer are great, Hunter and Bordick not so much. Same could be said about Nats broadcasting. Johnny Holliday doing PBP is an abomination. Ray Knight doing color is not much better.

  16. manassasnatsfan - May 5, 2015 at 11:58 PM

    Said several years now, as weak as our hitters are I think the medical staff is weaker. They are reactive not proactive.

  17. NatsNut - May 6, 2015 at 12:11 AM

    I was at the game tonight and I saw something that might explain Martin Prado’s HBP. The archive isn’t up yet and I haven’t seen anything in the comments, but did anyone else see what Dee Gordon did right before the HPB? So he’s standing on 3B, and Prado fouled and was was running up the baseline toward first. As he was moseying back, Dee Gordon runs down the line to home plate, sets Prado’s bat upright in the middle of home plate and just leave is balancing there on its end, then runs back to third. Very next pitch, Prado gets a 95 mph pitch in the back. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    • Tyler Babip - May 6, 2015 at 1:05 AM

      weird.

    • homeparkdc - May 6, 2015 at 2:27 AM

      That would explain the HBP. It could also be that RG3’s presence at the game, wearing Nats hat and jersey, brought on a bout of depression and failure.

    • NatsNut - May 6, 2015 at 6:54 AM

      I went back and watched the archive and you can see Gordon setting the bat up and leaving it, but he was running on the foul ball too, rather than after Prado was moseying back. Maybe the HBP was just a coincidence and the bat standing on end was no big deal. But it was still a first and kinda funny.

  18. senators69 - May 6, 2015 at 12:16 AM

    Stras shoulder issue does not feel right to me…I think its worse that he says. My gut tells me Nats may have to shut Stras down for a while. BUT at least we have Roark to step in…of course that leaves a huge hole in the bullpen. Not sure when Janssen’s back or how good he’ll be. Feels like another band-aid first half of the season season impacting key guys…Span (is he really ok?), Janssen, Rendon, Stras, Stammen (all year). May not be until June/July when all (but Stammen) return and round into shape. Young guys called up gotta show us something.

  19. Theophilus T.S. - May 6, 2015 at 12:46 AM

    Nice to see Solis doing well. He’s done enuf time on the DL for three players. Treinen looked, still, a little rocky but the ability to throw 98 without going all the way to the screen will earn him enuf opportunities to smooth out the wrinkles. Williams managed to preserve Grace, Thornton, Roark and Storen to clean up after Gonzalez tomorrow afternoon if needed. About the day after Scherzer was signed and Roark consigned to the BP I predicted Roark would become the 8th inning guy and I think that’s the way it’s working out. You could wish for more experience but I think the BP will be just fine.

  20. rabbit433 - May 6, 2015 at 7:11 AM

    The Nationals definitely have the knack for striking out when the other team needs one. Gee, all the strikeouts! And looking at strike three….all…the…time.

  21. sec112 - May 6, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned. Span grounded weakly to the right side 3 times yesterday. Hope that’s not going to become a pattern (again).

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