Sep 19, 2013, 3:24 PM EDT
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.)…
MIAMI MARLINS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
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
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: http://natsinsider.com/2013/09/19/instant-analysis-nats-3-marlins-2/
NL EAST STANDINGS
x-Clinched division title
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Matt Williams quotes Robert Frost in postgame speech (VIDEO)
- VIDEO: Nats celebrate NL East title with loud music, lots of beer
- Nationals players react to winning NL East on Twitter
- PHOTOS: Harper wears custom firefighters helmet to celebrate
- Nationals clinch NL East with victory in Atlanta
- How did Zimmerman fare in first game action in Viera?
- Nationals play for NL East title tonight in Atlanta
- Has Strasburg earned Game 1 start in playoffs?
- Around the NL East: Braves on the verge of elimination
- After nailbiter, Nationals on the cusp of a clinch