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Game 153: Marlins at Nats

Sep 19, 2013, 3:24 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

After losing last night to Atlanta, and watching the Reds pull one out in extra innings over the Astros, the Nationals enter this four-game series against the Marlins with an extra dose of pressure. There are ten games left and they may not be able to afford any more losses, much less one to the lowly Marlins.

Stephen Strasburg was scratched last night in anticipation of today’s start so Gio Gonzalez (10-7, 3.40) will take the mound. He’ll be pitching on normal rest, in his third start this year against the Marlins. He is 2-0 against the Fish, having not allowed a run in 13 total innings.

Henderson Alvarez (4-4, 3.97) is Miami’s pitcher for tonight. He has also pitched twice in this season series, with a 3.24 ERA across 8 1/3 innings.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the game (and watch Mark on The Baseball Show at 6:30 p.m.)…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Sunny, 73 degrees, Wind 6 mph LF to RF

CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
2B Anthony Rendon
LHP Gio Gonzalez

MARLINS (56-96)
2B Donovan Solano
1B Ed Lucas
LF Christian Yelich
RF Giancarlo Stanton
CF Justin Ruggiano
3B Placido Polanco
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
C Koyie Hill
RHP Henderson Alvarez

HP Bill Welke
1B Brian O’Nora
2B Fieldin Culbreth
3B Adrian Johnson

7:20 p.m. — Gio isn’t off to the greatest start after allowing a run to the Marlins before he even recorded an out. Solano led off with a double and was driven in by a Lucas single. He needed 18 pitches to get through the frame.

7:33 p.m. — Well, that was quick. The Nats took the lead on a three-run homer by Harper in the bottom of the first, his 20th of the season. He drove in Zimmerman who singled and Werth who walked. Desmond was then hit by a pitch high off his back, close to his head. He took first immediately, but after home plate ump Bill Welke warned both benches, the Nats took issue. Werth walked up the steps yelling and pointing on the field. Randy Knorr actually walked onto the field yelling and was subsequently tossed from the game. Alvarez threw 26 pitches.

7:44 p.m. — Gio was much better this time around, he allowed a one-out double to Hechavarria, but no runs. Hechavarria reached third on a fielder’s choice, but Alvarez grounded out to end the frame. Gio is at 40 pitches.

7:51 p.m. — Nothing going for the Nats in the bottom of the second. Rendon and Gonzalez flew out before Span grounded out to first for the third out. Alvarez has thrown 35 pitches.

8:01 p.m. — Another scoreless inning for Gio, but this time it wasn’t as easy. The Marlins loaded the bases with a Solano single and walks to Stanton and Ruggiano. Gio escabed by getting Polanco to fly out to center with two outs. Gonzalez likely didn’t know he was starting today until yesterday as Strasburg getting scratched moved him up. I wonder if that’s a factor in his troubles so far. He’s thrown 62 pitches already through three. Still 3-1 Nats.

8:10 p.m. — The Nats didn’t score any in the bottom of the third, despite seeing two men reach base. Harper beat out a throw from Polanco on a groundball to third and was followed by a Desmond single to left field. LaRoche then hit a high fly ball caught at the warning track in left-center field. Alvarez has thrown 49 pitches.

8:15 p.m. — The back end of the Marlins’ order was no match for Gio in the top of the fourth. He struck out Hechavarria swinging and then got Hill to fly out and Alvarez to ground out at second. Gio is at 70 pitches, needed only eight in that one.

8:26 p.m. — Three up, three down for the Nats and their back end of the lineup. Ramos and Gio grounded out while Rendon struck out looking. Alvarez has thrown 66 through four.

8:31 p.m. — The innings keep going by quickly as the Marlins go down in order. Solano flew out to left field, Lucas to shallow right and Yelich struck out swinging. That’s Gio’s third strikeout so far. He’s at 81 pitches.

8:38 p.m. — Zimmerman reached on a one-out single to left field, but that was it for the Nats. Span grounded out to lead off the inning and is still searching for a hit tonight. Werth and Harper then flew out to end the inning.

8:54 p.m. — It’s now 3-2 as back-to-back doubles by Stanton and Ruggiano with no outs plated another Marlins run. Gio’s thrown 105 pitches which will likely do it for the birthday boy (he turned 28 today).

9:07 p.m. — Drew Storen will take over after the Nats were held scoreless in the bottom of the sixth. They saw Desmond lead off with a single, and LaRoche then walked, but relief pitcher Ryan Webb got a double play and Rendon to line out to end the frame.

9:16 p.m. — The top of the seventh saw the Marlins put runners on the corners, but come away with nothing. Solano walked with two outs and Lucas singled to right field to move the former to third. Yelich then flew out to left field to end the frame. Steve Lombardozzi will lead off as he pinch hits for Storen.

9:31 p.m. — Zimmerman singled with two outs, but that was it for the Nats. Span struck out and is now 0-for-4, that could do it for his hit streak. We’ll see. Tyler Clippard will pitch the eighth with Stanton leading off.

9:39 p.m. — Clippard pitched a good one in the top of the eighth, only allowing Polanco to reach on a two-out single. He struck out Stanton and Hechavarria, and got Ruggiano to ground out to short.

9:51 p.m. — A Harper single was all the Nats got in the bottom of the eighth as Rafael Soriano will take over in the top of the ninth looking for his 42nd save. Still 3-2 Nats.

10:05 p.m. — Soriano walked two, but held on. Nats win. Instant analysis right here:

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    A frivolous thought to maybe lighten the somber mood: I saw the Nats are auctioning game-worn jerseys. If you really want one, I gotta believe that the David DeJesus jersey is the best deal imaginable. First, not that many folks will be pursing it (‘David who?’), so the cost can’t be especially high. Second, it was barely used. No lingering odors or impossible-to-remove stains, right?

  2. Section 222 - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Got new posted:

    Meanwhile, DeJesus has started 17 games for the Rays and has a slashline of .258/.343/.339 with 5 doubles and no HRs in 71 PAs. Hairston has started 7 games for the Nats and is batting .306/.316/.556 with 3 doubles and 2 HRs in 39 PAs. Perhaps Rizzo knew what he was doing on that one.

    But of course Chad Tracy, our LH hairy chested guy, is batting .187/.225/.293 in 129 PAs this season. That’s up from his season nadir of .131/ .172/.180 on June 4. The last time his BA touched the Mendoza line was May 24, and, believe it or not, he has never, I repeat, never, been over it. It’s a record of futility that I hope will never be approached by someone on the Nats 25-man roster again.

    • David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Scott Hairston has gotten far too much hate since the moment he arrived here. He should be a lock to make the team next year as a bench bat. As you pointed out, Rizzo is going to have to go out and acquire a good left handed bat for the bench as well.

      And rehaul the left side of the bullpen.

      • jd - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        I don’t know if the right side of the bullpen will all come back either. It’s been overall shaky most of the year (Matheus – bad, Stammen -minconsistent, Storen and Soriano – very shaky).

  3. Section 222 - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Those two seats for tonight in Section 311 are still available. Email me at Section314not222 at gmail dot com if you’d like them.

  4. jd - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:27 PM


    Regarding your comment in an earlier thread as far as the 5th starting spot, I disagree and I’ll tell you why. Regardless of what market you are in you operate within some framework of a budget so in the end it’s a question of how you deploy your budget. From a practical sense I don’t think it’s logical to spend heavily on a 5th starter, keep in mind that the team will have to accommodate much higher salaries for JZimm and Desmond in very short order and STras and Harper are a couple of years behind that.

    The other part of the equation is that there won’t be many really good pitchers on the open market, teams sign their own guys long term. That’s why you end up with your choice of Haren or EJax year after year. If you want something a bit more sure yo have to overpay in years and dollars and it’s not money well spent based on win differentials.

    I have no problem coming into camp next year with Det, Jordan, Roark and Karns competing for the last 2 spots and then you find next year’s Ohlendorf to back them up. I would like to see Rizzo to be creative in trying to upgrade the bench and pen this off season.

    • David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      I’d be interested in adding Bronson Arroyo. He can be had for not too high a price, he won’t command a long-term deal and he’s been extremely durable. No injury issues either, unlike Haren.

      • Jw - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        And he and Phil Wood can talk rock n roll on the postgame show.

      • Another_Sam - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        the gut feeling of this armchair scout is that Bronson Arroyo doesn’t throw very hard these days, and it can anly get slower from here.

  5. jd - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:33 PM


    I would have taken you up on your kind ticket offer but it’s a hell of a drive from NY.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Ditto, but an even longer drive from the Pacific Northwest. And I’d have had to be back for my wife’s birthday tomorrow.

  6. David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    I hear what you’re saying about the bullpen, JD. But it’s hard to imagine Soriano not being back with his salary (and he won’t be easy to trade). Storen has been much better since his stint from AAA, I think he’s only allowed like 2 runs in a month. I’ll take that. Stammen is fine, but I think he needs to be used properly. When he’s asked to do long relief, he’s great. When he’s asked to come in in middle relief like he was yesterday, he tends to struggle. I’m not sure why the difference.

    Mattheus should be replaced.

  7. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    i think the problem is that Stammen needs longer to warm up (and maybe focus) than most relievers. So he sometimes gives up a run in his first few batters if he isn’t quite ready–as in yesterday and a few other occasions. As noted, that is what makes proper usage for him, a long warm-up and 2+ innings every few days, rather than an inning stint on multiple days.

  8. Section 222 - Sep 19, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    jd, you make a reasonable case. I just feel differently about the chances that our current stock of No. 4/5 type pitchers will yield the kind of performance we need to win next year. Even if Dewiler is truly healthy come spring training, he pitched 164 innings last year and 71 this year. Can we really rely on him for 30 starts next year? Doubtful. Maybe you can cobble together a MLB level 5th starter performance out of Jordan/Karns/Roark, but we need something better than that. I don’t know who’s available, but I hope Rizzo doesn’t think what we have in the system is enough. It wasn’t this year, and it probably won’t be next year.

    As for next year’s Ohlendorf, I liked what Ohlendorf gave us this year, but I’d much rather that next year’s Ohlendorf be more like John Lannan, spending most of the year in AAA, and available for doubleheaders and a few starts when someone has a minor injury.

    As for every team being on a budget, if the $10-15 million that we’d spend for a proven major league starter is going to keep us from signing JZnn and Desi long term, much less Harper and Stras, we are in deep trouble. I just don’t think that’s the case. Besides, an extra 5,000 fans a night in September and the gate receipts of a playoff run pay for that several times over.

  9. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Put me down in the camp of those who expect Mike Rizzo to seek a pitcher of the 3/4 variety. A lot of the argument comes down to where you stand on the statement that ‘you can’t have too much pitching’ (or some variation). While everyone would like two 1s and three 2s (or some variation), that’s just too expensive if you’re also trying to put together a roster that will score some runs. But my take — based on his past record — is that Mr. Rizzo is willing to overspend on pitching (either in dollars or prospects). I’d prefer to see a bit more balance, but I anticipate a free agent (or trade) acquisition of the Haren/Jackson variety, maybe a notch higher.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      The Phillies managed it when they brought Cliff Lee back, at least for a couple of years. You can’t ask for a bunch of proven veterans and expect them all to be 26 years old; almost by definition, they are nearer the end than the beginning by that point.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:16 PM

        … which is not to say that’s what YOU were asking for. But if you get an older pitcher, it does tend to imply a smaller window of high performance, and players like that, nowadays, want long contracts anyway. So there’s that to consider. Do you want to be the Phillies?

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:20 PM

        But it was exactly when they got their four number 1s (or near 1s) that the Phillies began to slip. Gradually, yes, and some of it may have been inevitable (given the aging process, alas for us all) — and, yes, they still found a way to overspend on 1B — but it was overspending on Ps that cost them Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino, among others.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:21 PM

        Now I see that we may be saying the same thing. Or something like that.

    • Jw - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Trade Espinosa/Lombo plus Det and a couple of those pitching prospects to the Rays for David Price.

  10. Another_Sam - Sep 19, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I’m upbeat. We;’re seeing meaningful games in late September. There’s nothing in professional sport that rivals baseball for elegance, tension, and grace. I love these games.

  11. Another_Sam - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Professional sport: pardon the oxymoron. LOL

  12. David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    There’s nothing wrong with having quality pitching depth. We can keep Roark, Jordan, etc. either in some capacity on the ML roster (Roark as long man?) or in the minors. Somebody is going to go down. I have no faith in Detwiler staying healthy and I’m not completely confident in Strasburg making every start either. You get a 4 or 5 guy, slot Detwiler in there and then have some good options when one of them goes down. I think that’s much more likely than relying on those guys from the start and having an empty cupboard if someone goes down.

    Mike Rizzo sounds very interested in trading some of these guys though.

    Chase Hughes ‏@chasehughesCSN 13m
    Rizzo on young #Nats pitchers: “We certainly now again have the depth to go out and acquire a player via the trade market.”

  13. philipd763 - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Why isn’t Tyler Moore playing? Is he hurt? He is not even starting at first base against left handed pitchers. It isn’t like Laroche is knocking the cover off the ball and the playoff prospects are pretty well shot after last nights loss and a Reds victory.

    • David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      LaRoche has been playing quite well lately. I’d like to see more homers though.

  14. Baseballswami - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Totally agree on Tyler Moore. Hasn’t lost us anything on defense and is sitting there cooling off. Seems like when he starts he gets two hits a game. Adam is one of Davey’s boys.

  15. Baseballswami - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    McCatty looks younger, healthier, thinner. Guess he is listening to the docs.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      But not quite as young and thin as that photo circulating early in the season. Ah, age.

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    JD, it looks like I won our bet back in early June when I picked the Dodgers to win the West.

  17. David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:24 PM


  18. secretwasianman - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    When oh when is something going to be done about these umpires. What a joke these guys are

    • paul brandt - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      swm, agree…they are a joke too often seeking the headlines…horrible that both benches were warned after that clear and deliberate throw at Desmond…total garbage.

  19. paul brandt - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    I like Knorr’s fire!

    Davey just stood there like a deer in the headlights!

    • Dave - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:42 PM

      I imagine Davey stood there like a manager who didn’t want to get tossed. Knorr took one for the team.

  20. naterialguy - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    looks like Thurston Howell the third and Lovie in the front row behind home plate

  21. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Would like to see some payback here.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:06 PM

      Close enough.

  22. Another_Sam - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Whats up with MASN on Cox having gone to high school football coverage? What”s going on here?

    • naterialguy - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      only their hd channel working for masn on Cox

  23. Drew - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Harper career homer update:

    1 from David Freese
    19 from Mike Trout
    713 from Henry Aaron

  24. knoxvillenat - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Pretty light on the comments here tonight. Good move by Gio on that pickoff.

  25. thecynicin408 - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Not to sound like a Legion of Doomer, but this game is too close to a familiar pattern for my liking. Let’s get some more runs Nats!

  26. David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    When Ramos is locked in, he’s unstoppable. But he has games where he’s just a DP machine because of how slow he is. It makes it hard to move him up in the lineup.

  27. David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    This game is extremely annoying. We’re hitting liners all over the place that are getting caught and they’re dropping in bloops like that.

    • David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      Good job getting out of it Drew

  28. David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    We need to bat around in the 8th so Span can bat.

  29. acsportsfn - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Sure would like to see 2 or 3 add on runs in the eighth. Little nervous about this.

  30. janebeard - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    I feel bad for Denard. Okay. Guys! hold on and get another run. LaROCHE WAS NOT OUT!

  31. acsportsfn - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:49 PM


  32. janebeard - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Throwing up.

  33. Manassas Nats Fan - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Soriano refuses to make it easy.

  34. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Sigh of relief…. Nats win…. Nice!

  35. janebeard - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    I’m so glad I was wrong about this 9th…

  36. David Proctor - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    I honestly think Soriano is concealing an injury. He looks like Haren did pre-DL, except he’s good at somehow escaping the damage for the most part. I watched Soriano in NY last year and he looks nothing like he did then.

  37. acsportsfn - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Lets go pirates!





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