Welcome to MASN’s discussion space for tonight’s Nationals-Marlins game at Nationals Park. I’ll have periodic updates and analysis throughout the night. And if you’re interested in discussing the game, leave your comments at the bottom of this blog post. I’ll respond to you there.
7:26: It’s already 4-0 in the bottom of the first inning, courtesy of five hard-hit balls off Scott Olsen. Four went for singles, and Mike Stanton had the big blow with a two-run double to left. Olsen is scuffling for the second straight start after allowing two runs in his first outing in his return from the disabled list.
7:39: It’s 4-1 Marlins after the first; the Nationals scored their first run after a Roger Bernadina walk, a steal and a Ryan Zimmerman single. Wait -- make that 5-1. Hanley Ramirez just annihilated an 0-2 belt-high fastball from Olsen, hitting it halfway up the Red Porch seats in center field. That’s going to be one of the longest homers of the year in Nationals Park, and it begs the question: Why was Olsen throwing a fastball on an 0-2 pitch to a hitter who’s got a 1.178 OPS this month?
7:54: And Olsen is done for the night. He alllowed a hit and a walk before recording two outs, and then Stanton hit another rocket toward left. Ian Desmond got his glove on it - or just enough of his glove to pop it up in the air three straight times like a trickster with a Frisbee. But he couldn’t bring it down, and Olsen left with the Marlins up 6-1. They lead 7-1 now after Donnie Murphy’s single to left, and Olsen is still on the hook for one more runner.
8:32: Let’s see: Ryan Zimmerman made a throwing error, airmailing Adam Dunn on a ball deep in the hole when he tried to make an overhand throw, Michael Morse missed a running attempt at a catch when it went off the end of his glove and Miguel Batista threw a wild pitch. That’s just in the last 10 minutes. It’s 8-2 Marlins in the top of the fourth, and the Nationals have as many runs as they have errors.
8:42: This stat, courtesy of a discussion with the Post’s Adam Kilgore and a subsequent check of his StatsPass account: This is the 14th time this season the Nationals had a starter leave the game before recording an out in the fifth inning. That’s once every eight games or so - and that doesn’t even count the 4 1/3-inning starts like Stephen Strasburg had last night. Once again, the Nationals’ bullpen is left to work the pitching equivalent of a double shift.
8:58: Adam Dunn gave the Nationals something to be happy about, hitting his NL-leading 31st homer of the year to center on a 3-2 pitch from Chris Volstad. Ryan Zimmerman just followed that with a double - his third hit of the night. It’s 8-3 Marlins, but at least Dunn and Zimmerman are doing their part; they’re a combined 5-for-6 tonight.
9:20: The Nationals made a bit of a surge in the bottom of the sixth, scoring a run on Ivan Rodriguez’s single to right. But Willie Harris followed Rodriguez with a bullet to first, and Rodriguez was doubled off first. That meant Rodriguez wasn’t there to score on Josh Willingham’s pinch double, and Roger Bernadina’s ensuing flyout ended the inning. It’s 8-4 Marlins, and even when the Nationals get something going, they still have something go bad.