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Instant Analysis: Nats 7, Marlins 1

Apr 10, 2014, 7:00 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Stephen Strasburg overcame his two poor starts to begin the season with a dominant performance against the upstart Miami Marlins on Thursday afternoon. The right-hander dazzled through 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, putting on an efficient display through 98 pitches. Strasburg allowed only three hits to the Marlins and struck out 12. He entered the seventh having thrown only 78 pitches, but was removed for Jerry Blevins after allowing a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna.

Jayson Werth put the Nats up early with a two-run homer in the third inning to give Marlins’ starter Tom Koehler his only real blemish of the afternoon. Koehler battled a high pitch count, but left after the sixth with five hits, two walks and two runs allowed. The Nats added five more runs in the bottom of the eighth as Bryce Harper walked with the bases loaded off Arquimedes Caminero, and Ian Desmond then hit a grand slam.

Blevins, Aaron Barrett and Rafael Soriano closed it out after Strasburg to give the Nationals their seventh win of the season. Washington now moves to 7-2 through their first nine games for the third consecutive year.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: I hope you guys like homers. For the second time in 24 hours, Werth helped lead the Nationals to victory with a home run. And for the second time in 24 hours, a Nats player hit a grand slam.

For Werth, it was off a 3-0 pitch in the third inning from Koehler. Anthony Rendon was on first after drawing a walk, and Werth just plastered a 92 mile per hour four-seam fastball to the seats in left-center. Werth is now hitting .375 on the year with two home runs and 8 RBI through nine games.

Desmond also went yard  in the eighth inning with the second grand slam of his career. He took a 96 mile per hour fastball from Arquimedes Caminero to the same spot Werth hit his to blow the lid off the game and put the Nationals up 7-1.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Strasburg allowed a lead-off single to Christian Yelich in the top of the first before settling in to put on quite a show in front of 20,869 at Nationals Park. He struck out 12 in 6 2/3 innings of work, and retired 14 straight at one point.

Even when it looked like things were close to unraveling for Strasburg, he fought his way out of trouble. In the sixth inning he allowed a leadoff single to Koehler and then hit Derek Dietrich on the elbow with one out. Strasburg was then able to strike out Giancarlo Stanton and Garrett Jones to escape the jam.

Strasburg left in the seventh to a standing ovation from the Nationals’ crowd.

KEY STAT(S): This was the 13th game of Strasburg’s career in which he has hit double digits in strikeout totals; Rendon now has the Nationals’ team record with a nine-game hitting streak to begin the season.

UP NEXT: The Nationals head to Atlanta for their second series of the season against the Braves. Your starters will be Tanner Roark (1-0, 3.00) and Julio Teheran (1-1, 2.77). The Nationals are 7-2 on the year while the Braves (5-3) play tonight against the Mets. This will be the last series between the teams until late June. Worth noting: the Nats were 7-2 last season before getting swept by the Braves. This will be an interesting test for the Nats.

  1. MicheleS - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    WOOOO HOOOOO! A SWEEP! What a great or should I say GRAND series! That was fabulous! I hope they shove it to the Barves this weekend

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      Nice MicheleS. This team is learning its identity and so is the new coaches and players.

    • rabbit433 - Apr 11, 2014 at 7:34 AM

      MicheleS, be nice. We don’t want to shove anything to the Braves…..we just want to beat them SOUNDLY. As you would say, WOOOO HOOOOO! Well, ok, …….shove it to them. GO NATIONALS!!

  2. Joe Seamhead - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Now what are we all going to do all night?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      Watch more baseball!

    • MicheleS - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:22 PM

      Watch the Replay at 8 on MASN

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        Me too on that!

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    Rendon on that his approach hasn’t changed “Try to find a pitch to hit and put a barrel on it” Well said young man.

    • Candide - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      Well, I didn’t know it was that easy. Maybe I’ll see if I can get a non-roster invite to Spring Training next year and try my luck. 😉

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:09 PM

      Just like putting six elephants in a VW Bug … 3 in the front and 3 in the back. Easy.

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Nats are killing the other team’s bullpens.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Nats continue in sole possession of 1st place.

    • thelatencn - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      And best record in baseball.(Brewers can tie us if they beat the Fillies.)

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    “Mark Zuckerman @ZuckermanCSN
    #Nats are 7-2, heading into series vs. #Braves. Exact same situation last year … then got swept and were never the same.”

    Mark, be careful, I called that the turning point last year and that wasn’t received well. Hate mail coming your way 😉

    • nats128 - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      Braves finished that series with a 11-1 record and Nats at 7-5. The 1st 2 games in that series were emotional losses and Davey made multiple mistakes. I don’t expect MW to be making mistakes.

    • David Proctor - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      We have Gio vs. Aaron Harang on Sunday. If we don’t at least win that game…but I’m rooting for the sweep as always.

      Mets up 1-0 on the Braves early. Becoming a Mets fan for the night.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        Go Mets! Andrelton Simmons is hurt. Not sure when he will be back. Nats are all hitting now. I like the Nats chances.

  7. nats128 - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    In the postgame news conference MW was asked about double switching Ryan and he got slightly tongue tied working his way through an obvious lie. Just say it Matty that you wanted to strengthen the infield defense.

    • David Proctor - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      Why would he throw Ryan under the bus like that? It’s his job to sugarcoat things like that.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:22 PM

      The Cardinals last year pulled David Frese all the time. This team has to put team before individual.

    • adcwonk - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      I don’t think it was an obvious lie. Ryan had just made an out, and Blevins was going to pitch in parts of two different innings, and MW didn’t want Blevins’ spot in the order coming up in the interim.

      • letswin3 - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        Wonk didn’t get tounge-tied. Nice job there.

      • adcwonk - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:57 PM

        😉 Thanks — although I’m just repeating what MW actually said.

        Now, that said, I’m sure MW was also probably thinking to himself “cool, extra bonus, I’m improving my defense” — but, that was a side benefit. The main point is that MW needed to double switch, and RZ was the only one who made sense to switch out.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        wonk at 7:57, good points!

  8. letswin3 - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    I couldn’t have been more pleased with Strass today. My prediction earlier that he would go deep and save the pen was only off by a couple of outs, and he just seemed more “positive” out there. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m hopeful that it becomes a trend …. of course all of us would be “positive” if our stuff looked like his today. And I would be remiss if I didn’t compliment Leon for calling a great game … I can’t remember Strass waving off many of his calls.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:14 PM

      letswin3, if he was going to face righties at the end of the 7th (Dobbs pinch-hitting & then pulled) I think Matty would have let him go a little longer.

      You are right, Leon did a great job behind the dish. Another of the great Venezuelan catchers the Nats have.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    I did some research and got hold of a Marcell Ozuna scouting report. While I knew Ozuna has a + arm I had no idea how good he is:

    Marcell Ozuna had 8 outfield assists last year in just 157 chances and led the NL in outfield doubleplays. That’s right, he played in only 69 games and led all outfielders in doubleplays.

    Ozuna has a gun. #1 rated CF arm in the NL.

    Based on that information that obviously Matt Williams and Henley had for the series, not a chance they run Rendon on Werth’s single with no outs and LaRoche coming to bat.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:33 PM

      The most obvious inference from a large number of assists is that opposing teams are more willing to test the arm. Eventually it evens out. If teams are more judicious about running the arm ceases to be quite as much of a weapon.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:35 PM

        Absolutely. We saw that with Bryce. Its a deterrent. Teams don’t take extra bases on Bryce and the same with Ozuna and for that matter the same with Giancarlo Stanton.

    • letswin3 - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      Okay, those numbers make me feel a little better about not sending Rendon today. But I’m still bothered by Henley sending LaRoche …. and getting Rochie thrown out by 3 large paces.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        What do you think happened in Matty’s office after that game? My guess is he said to Henley “I stood up for you to the media but what the heck were you thinking when you sent our 2nd slowest runner on the entire team”?

  10. Sonny G 10 - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    MASN replay just coming on. Must go watch again! Woo Hoo!!!!!

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    Justin Upton locked in. 2 HRs and 1 a tape measure shot. Mejia tossed his glove after the threw that HR.

    • David Proctor - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      I wonder if Hale hits him next time up.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:29 PM

        Ron Darling said if he was a 12 year old kid and did that he would be pulled from the game.

  12. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    One observation I haven’t seen: Soriano didn’t seem disinterested in finishing the game when it was not a save situation. Score one for Randy Knorr over Johnson.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      I noticed that too. It seemed like he was in a nice groove.

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Good. Braves bullpen will be worked tonight. Hale lasts 4 1/3

  14. natsfan1a - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Missed the early innings and some of the later innings but what I saw was just grand. :-)





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