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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 3

Aug 28, 2013, 11:19 PM EST

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals

Game in a nutshell: Stephen Strasburg was hoping to take aim at yet another deep start, but a 1-hour, 12-minute rain delay in the bottom of the second spoiled that plan. Both Strasburg and Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez didn’t return after the delay, so this became a battle of bullpens. The Nationals’ relief corps won out, with Craig Stammen going three innings to bridge the gap, and then (after Ryan Mattheus struggled in the sixth) Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano finishing it off. The Nationals’ 13th win in 18 games did require some clutch hits, with Jayson Werth launching a towering home run to center field to tie things up in the sixth and then Ian Desmond delivering an RBI single in the seventh to plate the go-ahead run. Because the Reds dominated the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Nationals didn’t gain any ground in the NL Wild Card race. But they remain on their best roll of the season, now 2 games over .500 for the first time since July 11.

Hitting highlight: How good has Werth been this summer? So good that opposing managers don’t even want to pitch to him anymore. One inning after his titanic homer to center, Werth came to the plate with one on and two out in the seventh. Marlins manager Mike Redmond elected to intentionally walk him and take his chances with Desmond. Big mistake. Desmond laced a two-out, RBI single to left, bringing Denard Span home with the go-ahead run. Can’t imagine many managers would have done that a couple of months ago. But the way he’s going these days, Werth has become the one guy in the Nationals lineup you don’t want to beat you.

Pitching lowlight: This has been a strange season all around for Strasburg, but it’s been an especially strange month for the right-hander. Check out his innings totals from each of his last four starts: 9, 1, 8.2, 2. Not that he could do anything about tonight’s abbreviated outing. Strasburg was cruising along, retiring six of the seven Marlins he faced and striking out two (including Stanton on four pitches). But then the rain came — with Strasburg standing in the batter’s box, of all places — and the delay proved too long to bring the starter back. Thus, Strasburg was done after two hitless innings and only 22 pitches. It does raise an interesting question, though: Would the Nationals consider bringing him back after only a couple of days off? Obviously, he’ll be fresh. It probably won’t happen, but it would be interesting.

Key stat: Ryan Mattheus has allowed nine of the last 13 major-league hitters he has faced to reach base.

Up next: The series concludes Thursday night when Gio Gonzalez takes the hill against right-hander Tom Koehler. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., with a Sammy Hagar concert to follow the game.

  1. Joe Seamhead - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    I’m not seeing that Soriano = fail tonight! Good closing!

  2. Manassas Nats Fan - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Why not pitch like that way every game Soriano?

  3. Joe Seamhead - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Wow, Drew actually has a trace of a smile. Good to see.

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Hallelujah! That’s how to pitch a 9th! Left Stanton on-deck!

    Untuck deserved!

  5. nats128 - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Come from behind win! Impressive!

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Got called away, but I would have untucked if I had been here to tuck in the first place.

    Hey Mark, how do you like the new format?

  7. Section 222 - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    UNTUCK baby. Un-F-ing-Tuck. I think even the naysayers will have to admit that Sori had it going on tonight. His first “clean” performance after 8 straight where he gave up a hit or a walk. And his fourth straight save after the back to back disasters against the Giants and Braves.

    Clipp nails of course. Storen shaky but got his act together. And Jayson Werth. Wow.

    • David Proctor - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      He even struck out Ruggiano twice.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      There is something funny about this comment, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

      “Clipp nails of course.”

  8. David Proctor - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Batting Stance Guy ‏@BattingStanceG 3m
    Nats 7 games back of wildcard Reds. Btw- Aug 27th, 2011 StLCards were 10 back.

    • nats106 - Aug 29, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      Yes, and got a lot of help from the Nats. Payback time-4 games with the Reds next week. The Birds owe us.

  9. nats128 - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    Laroche left 5 runners on base and Zimmerman left 4 on base. Both had really poor at bats tonight. Hard to forget that 3-0 swing by Laroche.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      We say it all the time “take what the game gives you”. Can’t swing at a 3-0 that isn’t down the middle center cut.

      The Nats put up no crooked numbers tonight because of all the rally killer plays. Glad they won but that’s two 1 run games in a row that had blowout opportunities.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:50 PM

        I was right in the middle of saying “If Davey has a TAKE!! sign this is when…” when he swung. And speaking of things that will get you yelled at in Ponce de Leon baseball, WTH was Rendon doing trying to go to third on a routine ground ball to short?? They showed him in the dugout after and he looked like a dog that got caught peeing on the carpet.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Key stat: Ryan Mattheus has allowed nine of the last 13 major-league hitters he has faced to reach base.

    Knucklehead. Davey had to get some outs from him because of the short work from Strasburg due to the rain delay.

    Way to dig down, Drew! Clip and Raffy were both flawless.

    Denard has been terrific at the plate the past few games. Nice to see.

    Desi and Werth were key tonight, though Jayson should’ve gotten the one in right that dropped in front of him.

    Zim and ALR were both good in the field. Adam was particularly awful at the plate. Bryce wasn’t much better.

    • nats128 - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      As noted, Zimmerman is now playing at normal 3rd baseman depth and imagine that, he’s making almost all the plays once again.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      Oh, yeah, nice effort from Craig Stamman, too.

    • David Proctor - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:45 PM

      Bryce had the RBI double at least.

  11. David Proctor - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Strasburg is a surly dude.

    • pchuck69 - Aug 29, 2013 at 12:24 AM

      He was eerily happy during that postgame interview.

      It was unnerving. :)

  12. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Just back from four days in the mountains and happy to see a winning game. Will be interesting to see when Stephen Strasburg next starts — Friday maybe?

    • Sonny G 10 - Aug 29, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      My wife and I will be coming out your way right after labor day weekend. We’re bringing our camper and plan to visit Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver, Canada. I’ve never been to the NW corner of the USA before and am really looking forward to it.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2013 at 8:01 AM

        Enjoy the trip, Sonny. That’s a beautiful area of the country.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 29, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        There’s a slim chance that Vancouver’s short season A team will make the Northwest League’s playoffs — not sure if you’d be there at the right time, but that’s a baseball option for you. Also, if you have time, make sure you take the road from Vancouver up to Whistler — great views, hikes along the way, etc. Enjoy!

  13. naterialguy - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    nice defensive play by Soriano on that bunt

  14. nats128 - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    Zimmerman batting .297 now with RISP.

    • David Proctor - Aug 29, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      Span, Bryce, Ian and Jayson are all hot. Zim and ESPECIALLY LaRoche need to get hot now.

  15. David Proctor - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Heath Bell is helping us out. Just gave up a 2 run homer to the Padres. Friars up 4-1 in the 8th with still nobody out.

    • David Proctor - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:59 PM

      And another home run. 5-1 Padres.

  16. Baseballswami - Aug 29, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Question for you– have we ever this season intentionally walked anyone? Seems like every team uses that strategy against us to get certain match ups, but we don’t use that tool at all. True?

    • David Proctor - Aug 29, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      We intentionally walked Logan Morrison last night, but it was after Ross Ohlendorf had fallen behind.

      I genuinely don’t like IBBing people. Look at what happened today. But occasionally, it’s okay. I’d IBB Giancarlo in several instances.

  17. secretwasianman - Aug 29, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    The guys playing well lately. Kinda fun

  18. David Proctor - Aug 29, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    D’Backs lost.

  19. Sonny G 10 - Aug 29, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Not a pretty win tonight but I’ll take it. Mattheus might need another trip to AAA. He deserves a little grief for slamming his fist into his locker earlier this season. That’s really hurt this team and is still hurting the team.

  20. natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    Yay, happy game results! (Went to bed around 10, with the game tied 3-3).

  21. natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    For those who have recently made the jump to this site, PSA on using your old moniker (hat tip to 222, who posted this originally):

    If you click on your name in the upper right hand corner of the screen, then click on “Public Profile,” you can change the name that is visible here. Remember to Save Changes.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled baseball discussion. Go, NATS!!

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