Aug 28, 2015, 3:36 PM EDT
The Nationals suffered three blows last night, with Michael Taylor and Yunel Escobar getting hurt and Denard Span going back on the DL only two days after returning, but they did manage to win the game and their series against the Padres. They’ve won 6 of 9 now, with a chance to continue the trend this weekend against the Marlins.
So, where does that leave the Nats? Well, they’re going with Bryce Harper in center field, Danny Espinosa in left field, Anthony Rendon at third base and Trea Turner at second base (making his first career start). We will see how that all works out…
Max Scherzer, meanwhile, is on the mound, looking for a return to dominance after a rough month. Scherzer was much better last time out after making some mechanical tweaks, which he hopes carry over into this outing.
Updates to come, so please check back…
MIAMI MARLINS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 184/869
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 5 mph RF to LF
RF Jayson Werth
3B Anthony Rendon
CF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Ian Desmond
LF Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
2B Trea Turner
RHP Max Scherzer
2B Dee Gordon
RF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Martin Prado
LF Derek Dietrich
1B Justin Bour
CF Marcell Ozuna
C J.T. Realmuto
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
LHP Adam Conley
HP Lance Barrett
1B Dan Iassogna
2B Dale Scott (cc)
3B C.B. Bucknor
7:05 p.m. — And we’re underway as Max Scherzer fires a fastball to Dee Gordon for strike one.
7:22 p.m. — And the Nats are in a 1-0 hole after a 2-out rally by the Marlins off Scherzer. Martin Prado lined a single to right, then scored on Derek Dietrich’s double off the wall in right-center. So Scherzer’s struggles continue. The Nats got a 2-out single from Bryce Harper (who has now reached base in eight of his last nine plate appearances) but that was it against Adam Conley. So it’s 1-0 Miami after one.
7:36 p.m. — So what you want about his overall season, but Ian Desmond has certainly turned things around over the last month-plus. He just launched another opposite-field homer to lead off the bottom of the second, his ninth in his last 36 games. Over those 36 games, he’s hitting .300 with a .359 on-base percentage and .562 slugging percentage. 1-1 game after two.
7:56 p.m. — Max Scherzer, for whatever reason, simply hasn’t been the same pitcher this month he was the previous four months. He just served up a towering, 2-run homer to Prado on a 2-2 fastball. It’s the sixth homer Scherzer has given up over his last 18 innings. He gave up 3 earned runs or more only five times in his first 21 starts this season. He’s now given up at least 3 earned runs in each of his five starts this month. Not good. Marlins 3-1 after three.
8:10 p.m. — Make it seven homers allowed by Scherzer over his last 19 innings after Marcell Ozuna launched one to center field to lead off the fourth. That came on a fastball well up in the zone, another problem for Scherzer during this rough stretch. Conley, meanwhile, has allowed only the Desmond homer and a couple singles through four innings. 4-1 Miami after four.
8:24 p.m. — Like Desmond, Wilson Ramos has rediscovered his power stroke recently. The Buffalo just sent a ball soaring over the left-field bullpen, his third homer in five games. This one cuts the deficit to 4-2 after five innings.
8:55 p.m. — The Nats keep chipping away, though they missed a golden opportunity to tie the game or even take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. They loaded the bases with nobody out, knocking Conley out of the game and bringing in rookie Kyle Barraclough to face Ryan Zimmerman. Zim just got under a 2-1 pitch and skied a ball to deep center for a sac fly, but Desmond struck out on a slider down and away for the second out. After Espinosa drew a walk to load the bases again, Ramos smoked a comebacker, only to watch as Barraclough deflected it straight to Gordon, who tossed to first to end the inning. So it’s 4-3 Marlins after six.
9:10 p.m. — Credit to Scherzer: He buckled down after the early struggles and wound up retiring 12 straight batters following the Ozuna homer. Seemed like he eschewed the fastball some and relied more on offspeed stuff to get guys out. He’s done after 7 innings, having kept this a 4-3 deficit for his teammates.
9:33 p.m. — Try as they might, the Nats can’t push across the tying run. They went down in order in the eighth, with three straight groundballs against Bryan Morris and Mike Dunn. So it remains 4-3 Miami heading to the ninth, the Nats down to their last three outs.
9:55 p.m. — That’ll do it. The Nats can’t push across the run they need against closer A.J. Ramos. They lose 4-3, a frustrating way to begin this series.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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