You'd think that when a team faces a starting pitcher twice in a 13-day span that they'd have a pretty good idea what was coming the second time around, wouldn't you?
"Yeah, you would think," Adam LaRoche said.
That didn't help the Nationals against Ricky Nolasco. The Marlins right-hander, who came into today with a 4.64 ERA this season, shut out the Nationals back on Aug. 28, and he did the same thing this afternoon, giving up just four hits over nine strong innings.
"He did the exact same thing (as last time)," LaRoche said. "He was the exact same pitcher. We knew what we were getting. We knew what he has. He just locates to the point that you look up and its 0-2, 1-2 in your at-bat and you're grinding. Tip your hat to him. He did a great job."
Said Jayson Werth: "He was tough. He can be tough, just depends which guy shows up, and today, he had really good stuff."
The sun played a significant factor in today's ballgame, and the Marlins ended up benefiting more from the tough outfield elements than their hosts. Bryce Harper lost a two-out Nolasco fly ball in the sun in the second inning, allowing two runs to score.
"It was just one of those things, when the ball goes in the sun, it's a very, very helpless feeling because you can't see," Werth said. "You don't know where the ball is. You know it's somewhere close, but I think (Harper) missed it by two or three feet. There's nothing you can do."
If Harper snags that fly ball, Edwin Jackson is out of the second inning having held the Marlins without a run. Instead, he trailed 2-0 and wasn't able to recover from there.
"That's part of the game," Jackson said. "Sometimes it happens. That's a guy who makes plays for us more times than not. As a starting pitcher, you just have to work around that. When the ball gets lost in the sun, that's something he really can't control. That play is just one of those things you have to deal with and keep going."
The Nats are now done with the Marlins for the season, with the season series ending up split right down the middle. Miami has a winning percentage of .500 against the Nationals and .439 against the rest of the majors.
They continue to give the Nationals trouble, regardless of where the two teams are in the standings in a particular season.
"They've played us tough, they've pitched us tough," Werth said. "Just one of those things. For me, I know that they've always been tough on me. Their pitching usually has my number. But we've been battling. We had a good homestand, we've been playing good ball, we just need to keep going. Like I said, we've got a lot of big games coming up down the stretch, and it's going to be up to us."
Said LaRoche: "I don't look at it as we beat ourselves today; we got beat. We caught a good pitcher on his game. We were a little bit off ours. Overall, it wasn't a sloppy game; it was just good old butt-whipping."