Five days ago, Chien-Ming Wang jogged out of the bullpen to relieve Ross Detwiler after a mediocre start.
Today, the reverse happened.
Wang went just four-plus innings in his first start of the season, giving up four runs. He allowed 10 baserunners in that time (seven hits and three walks) and clearly wasn't showing the command that we saw early in spring training when the veteran right-hander was pounding his sinker down in the zone and locating his offspeed stuff for strikes.
Detwiler came on with runners at first and second and none out in the fifth and did a nice job getting Wang out of trouble, allowing just one Marlins run to score.
That run broke a tie game, however, putting the Nats in a 4-3 hole.
The Nats hoped for more from their starter tonight, and now they hope for a late comeback in order to avoid a Miami sweep.
They've gotten strong performances from Danny Espinosa (2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI) and Roger Bernadina (1-for-2 with two RBIs and a beautiful throw to gun Bryan Peterson at home to end the second), and Adam LaRoche showed he's still got some pop in his bat with a big double leading off the fourth.
But as they stretch in the middle of the seventh, the Nats haven't notched a hit since that fourth inning.
Update: Giancarlo Stanton is pretty good at baseball.
The Marlins slugger demolished yet another homer in the seventh, a solo shot off Ryan Perry, that makes the game 5-3.
Stanton now has 13 home runs on the season, two of which have come in this series. Seriously, stop pitching to the guy.
Update II: All of a sudden, the Marlins are just a half-game behind the Nationals for first place in the National League East.
That's what a three-game sweep can do to ya.
The Nats lost to the Marlins 5-3 tonight, making it three straight losses in Miami and giving the Nats a 5-4 record on their nine-game road trip.
Stanton and Hanley Ramirez combined to go 5-of-7 with two RBIs tonight, and went 13-of-20 with seven RBIs on the series. They both kill this Nationals team.
The Nationals have a day off tomorrow and will return to NL East play on Friday when they host the Braves.