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Game 147: Marlins at Nats

Sep 18, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

We’ve got a humdinger of a pitching matchup here tonight, with Max Scherzer taking the mound for the Nationals and Jose Fernandez for the Marlins. Each right-hander’s most-recent start came against the same opponent, with Scherzer shutting out Miami over eight innings and Fernandez shutting out the Nats over five innings.

The Nationals are just about in must-win territory now. After dropping last night’s series opener, they really need to win the next three to close out the weekend, while also hoping the Mets lose at least two of three to the Yankees. Might be too much to hope for at this point.

No Michael Taylor in the Nationals’ lineup tonight. Perhaps his knee is acting up again. So it’s Bryce Harper in center field, with Jayson Werth in right and Matt den Dekker in left. Jose Lobaton also gets the start behind the plate.

Updates to come, 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
Weather: Clear, 79 degrees, Wind 8 mph RF to LF

NATIONALS (75-71)
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Yunel Escobar
CF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
LF Matt den Dekker
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Max Scherzer

MARLINS (64-83)
2B Dee Gordon
RF Ichiro Suzuki
LF Christian Yelich
1B Justin Bour
CF Marcell Ozuna
3B Derek Dietrich
C J.T. Realmuto
SS Miguel Rojas
RHP Jose Fernandez

UMPIRES
HP Chris Conroy
1B Ted Barrett (cc)
2B Adam Hamari
3B Angel Hernandez

7:05 p.m. — We’re underway on a beautiful, 79-degree night here.

7:20 p.m. — Uh-oh, the home run ball has come back to get Max Scherzer again. Christian Yelich took him deep to right-center for a 2-run shot in the top of the first, just the latest ball to leave the yard against Scherzer. He has now surrendered 17 homers in his last 75 innings. For comparison’s sake, he surrendered only 18 total in 220 innings last season. 2-0 Miami after one.

7:35 p.m. — Matt Williams wanted to stack his lineup with as many left-handed hitters as he could tonight vs. Jose Fernandez, whose slider is just devastating on righties. Well, they got three hits from lefties in the bottom of the second, including Clint Robinson’s second-deck homer to right-center. Matt den Dekker and Jose Lobaton also chimed in singles in the inning, though a popped-up bunt by Scherzer ruined a chance of more damage. So it’s 2-1 Miami after two.

7:46 p.m. — There have been some hard-hit balls, but Scherzer has retired eight in a row since the Yelich homer, finding a groove to some extent. He has thrown only 31 pitches through three innings. Fernandez, on the other hand, has thrown 45 pitches through his first three innings. Still 2-1 Marlins after three.

8:07 p.m. — Scherzer got into a little trouble in the fourth, with runners on second and third and only one out. But the Nats chose to play their infield halfway in, and it paid off when Derek Dietrich grounded to second and Justin Bour was forced to hold at third base. Scherzer then got J.T. Realmuto to send a flyball to the warning track in right, caught by Jayson Werth, to end the inning. Still 2-1 Marlins after four.

8:27 p.m. — Another inning, another opposing runner held to third base thanks to a groundball to a drawn-in infield. Desmond made a nifty play on Gordon’s chopper up the middle, holding Rojas at third and helping Scherzer get through the fifth with no more damage. Meanwhile, the lefty-righty split against Fernandez is growing even more dramatic. Nats left-handed batters are now 4-for-6 with two walks tonight, while right-handed batters are 0-for-12 with six strikeouts. Still 2-1 Miami after five.

8:49 p.m. — Well, things have definitely gotten a bit livelier here in the sixth. Scherzer posted another shutout frame, but not without a little help. He got that in the form of Harper throwing out Derek Dietrich at second base as he tried to extend a single into a double, marking the 22-year-old’s ninth outfield assist of the season. The Nats then rallied thanks to Fernandez throwing two wild pitches after allowing the first two men to get on, chasing him from the game. It’s 2-2 as we head to the seventh.

9:10 p.m. — Scherzer looked like he was done for the night with two outs and a man on in the seventh as Williams came out to seemingly call on his bullpen. But after a brief (and intense) conversation, the skipper kept his starter in to pitch against Gordon. It paid off; Scherzer got a ground ball out to end the frame. Scherzer’s final line: 7 innings, 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts on 104 pitches. The offense couldn’t score on the other side of the stretch, so we’re still tied 2-2 going into the eighth.

9:45 p.m. — Some late-game magic here for the home team. After the the Marlins took a 3-2 lead on a throwing error by Rendon, the Nats answered with two runs — one on a Desmond sac fly and another on an RBI single by Michael A. Taylor to give Washington its first lead of the night. It’s 4-3 going to the ninth and here comes Jonathan Papelbon.

10:04 p.m. — To extra innings we go. Papelbon blew the save when Gordon tied the game on a sac fly. To be fair to the Nats’ closer, the leadoff man reached third base because of a throwing error by Harper. Either way, the Marlins scored and the Nats were unable to answer in the bottom half of the inning. It’s 4-4 heading to the 10th.

10:27 p.m. — And that’ll do it. The Nats walk off after Jose Lobaton drives in Werth on a sacrifice fly. 5-4 the final.

  1. Section 222 - Sep 18, 2015 at 3:50 PM

    Ok, so if the Nats sweep the rest of the Marlins series and the Mets lose 2 out of 3 to the Yanks, we’ll be 6 games out with 13 left to play. The MMN will be 8. That would give us hope?

    Meh.

    • sec112 - Sep 18, 2015 at 4:06 PM

      For any “realistic” scenario, you pretty much have to assume the Nats sweep the Mets in the closing series. That means thinking about it as needing to pick up 3 games in the standings over 10 games. So 8-2 vs 5-5. Thing is – it’s doable – it means something like a 14-2 stretch to finish the season. But it’s not going to happen because the Nats haven’t given any indication (since May) that they can stay hot for that long, and they have maybe 3 reliable starters (I’m sure we’d get a lot of debate about who those three are or if there are even three) and not enough depth to pull someone from a weak start early before the game gets out of reach.

      • sec112 - Sep 18, 2015 at 4:10 PM

        Also – the assumption – which feels pretty reasonable right now- is that the Mets cool off and cave to the pressure against the Yankees and find away to lose a few games to the Braves, Phillies and Marlins. I’d sooner bet on the Mets going 6-10 to finish than on the Nats to go 14-2.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 18, 2015 at 4:11 PM

        As we saw last night…and on so many other nights this season.

      • Section 222 - Sep 18, 2015 at 4:17 PM

        112, that’s the key point. At this point, the Mets have to collapse *and* the Nats have to nearly win out. Neither is really plausible.

        Last night’s paid attendance was 23,000 and change, but the actual number butts in the seats was far fewere. The fans have checked out, and with good reason.

      • NatsLady - Sep 18, 2015 at 5:50 PM

        Well, I didn’t “check out” last night, but I didn’t go to the game either. Needed a break. Am going tonight and tomorrow and probably Sunday. Etc., for as long as my body holds up–otherwise I’ll REGRET it in the winter. Have coupons for ice cream and Cracker Jack (Cracker Jack? That still exists?).

        Max, pitch good. I am wearing your jersey. Go Yanks!!

      • natsfan1a - Sep 18, 2015 at 6:30 PM

        I’m not checked out either. I’m still watching the games because – pointy ball? Really? I missed a few weeks of baseball (well, that might have been for the best on the STL and NYM series) and need some more baseball memories to get me through the offseason as I sit and stare out the window. My remaining tix are at the end of the homestand, so I won’t be there in person until Friday. I’ll be watching, though, at least until I fall asleep in front of the tv. Go, Max! Go, NATS!!

      • natsfan1a - Sep 18, 2015 at 6:31 PM

        Oh, yeah, go, um, that other team in NYC. You know, the one that isn’t in our division. Yeah, them. For the next few days, anyway.

  2. langleyclub - Sep 18, 2015 at 3:50 PM

    It may not be MAT’s knee. Left-handed hitters hit almost 100 points higher than right handed hitters against the Fernandez. So, Lobaton and den Dekker play.

    BTW, Fernandez has never lost to the Nats 3-0 in 5 starts with 0.58 ERA.

    • janebeard - Sep 18, 2015 at 4:39 PM

      There’s always a first time.

      GYFNG!

  3. trfwans - Sep 18, 2015 at 6:08 PM

    Nats have announced a new promotion/benefit for season plan holders. Show up at the ballpark on a date TBA, step into the batters box for two pitches or one swing, whichever comes first, and if you hit a homer your season tickets are free. It’s against a pitching machine, but personally I think they should couple this with the decision on whether or not to fire Matt Williams. Let him trot out whatever member of his sorry-ass bullpen he wants against each plan holder. If he escapes the exercise with no homers given up, bring him back for another year.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 18, 2015 at 6:26 PM

      What do you get if you do a Babe Ruth impression and trot around the bases?

      • trfwans - Sep 18, 2015 at 6:44 PM

        Probably you’ll get escorted out by security.

  4. philipd763 - Sep 18, 2015 at 8:56 PM

    Scherzer has been in trouble just about every innng.

  5. unkyd59 - Sep 18, 2015 at 9:41 PM

    Turner. The Burner.

  6. TimDz - Sep 18, 2015 at 10:01 PM

    Love ya Wilson, but they can time you with a sun dial……

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