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Instant Analysis: Marlins 4, Nats 2

Sep 22, 2013, 4:15 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Game in a nutshell: With their backs against the wall in the playoff race, the Nats can’t afford a poor outing from one of their starting pitchers, much less one against the last place Marlins. Dan Haren allowed Miami to take an early lead thanks to a two-run home run by Giancarlo Stanton in the top of the first. He then coughed up a solo shot to Christian Yelich in the third inning. The Nats weren’t able to recover from the early deficit. Though Washington’s offense has been better lately, they were baffled for six innings by Tom Koehler. The right-hander allowed just two runs through six innings and kept them scoreless through the first five frames. He carved the Nats up with remarkable efficiency, needing only 79 pitches to make it six. Ryan Mattheus gave up another run in the seventh inning as the Marlins scored four on the day. The loss means the Atlanta Braves have clinched the National League East, taking the division title for the first time since 2005.

Hitting highlight: The Nats’ lineup as a whole went cold on Sunday afternoon, but Ryan Zimmerman did notch his 26th home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth. Denard Span walked with two outs to bring up Zim who crushed a 2-1 pitch from Koehler to center field. Zimmerman leads the Nationals this season in home runs and now has the second highest season total of his career. He hit 33 in 2009.

Pitching lowlight: The two-run homer Haren allowed to Stanton was a bad one as it came with two outs and two strikes in the first inning. In Haren’s defense, the at-bat was extended by a questionable ball three from home plate ump Fieldin Culbreth. That gave Stanton a full count and he demolished the next pitch opposite field to score two runs. The difference between the Nats with Haren pitching this season and without is quite pronounced. In games he’s started, the Nats are 10-19, a .345 winning percentage. In games with other starting pitchers, the Nats are 73-53, a .579 winning percentage. That equates to a 93-win pace over the course of a full season.

Key stat: Juan Pierre pinch-hit with a single in the seventh inning for hit No. 2,216 of his 14th career. He moved into 174th place in MLB history, passing some guy named Joe DiMaggio.

Up next: The Nats and Marlins will take a quick break before going right back at it in the second game of the doubleheader. Stephen Strasburg (7-9 2.96) returns to the mound after missing his last two starts and Brian Flynn (0-2, 9.64) pitches for Miami in a 7:05 p.m. start.

  1. karlkolchak - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Interestingly, last year the Nats were 12-19 with Edwin Jackson starting. Maybe it is time to let the kids pitch the whole season instead of wasting all that FA money on crappy veteran starters on one year contracts.

    They could hardly do worse.

    • laddieblahblah - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      That recommended strategy worked out pretty well for the Marlins today.

  2. Sonny G 10 - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Remarkable. I guess Dan Haren really did do us in this season.

  3. Section 222 - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Davey’s presser was kind of embarrassing. Says he was still thinking about that movie about him, and probably should have had Abad for the inning instead of Mattheus. Well maybe next year Davey…. Oh wait.

  4. Baseballswami - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    What channel is the next game on? Neither one lists it in the guide and I need to DVR.

  5. Steady Eddie - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Bigger issue than “Locker” Mattheus, along with Haren, was lack of prep by someone (Schu?) for Koehler taking a different game plan than the Aug 29 game we torched him in. This looked like a pathetic May game. Apart from Zim’s blast, no one even reached second.

    • David Proctor - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Eh, these games happen. Koehler was very good his last time out. When you go 29-11 over 40 games, it’s hard to complain about the losses. You’re not going to win every game.

      That’s the problem with the predicament we put ourselves in. We had to win every game.

      Oh well, it’s been fun. Let’s keep winning and see how good we can get our record. St. Louis will be a good measuring stick.

  6. coollikelivo - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Davey sent a message: this team is not ready for the playoffs and it would be a disservice to let them sneak in now. The evidence: In need of a win and momentum to get another win, he sat Stras, Rendon, and Ramos. Why not play them in the afternoon and rest Ramos/Rendon at night? Easier to win with momentum you would think. Then, in the key at bat — bottom 8th, 1 on, no out, down by 2 — pinch hits Z.Walters (!), he of 6 lifetime ML ABs, who promptly grounds into DP. You need to win the game you are already voluntarily playing with one arm behind your back?, hit Ramos, hit Rendon, but a rook!? Davey, love ya, appreciate all you’ve done, but won’t miss ya that much.

  7. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Yeah, so I think maybe my husband and I are back luck this year. We’re 3-5 at Nats games and 0-1 at the P-Nats. Le sigh.

  8. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Bad luck, not bad luck. Where’s the coffee?

    (Oh, and we couldn’t stay for the makeup game last night. You’re welcome. :-) )





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