VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals trail the Tigers 4-1, with Detroit scoring three in the top of the sixth after Washington had pulled even. And Jason Marquis is done for the day, with another impressive spring outing in the books.
The right-hander finished his day after five innings, allowing three hits, two walks and a run. He threw 58 pitches, 38 for strikes, and got six ground ball outs in five innings (including a double play).
The top of the sixth, though, has unraveled on Todd Coffey after it was extended by a tough play in center field. Magglio Ordonez hit a two-out double to center field that went off the end of Nyjer Morgan's glove after he'd given chase on a long run. The ball was blowing away from him in the wind, and the fact the Nationals are having him play a shallower center field didn't help him on the play. It would have been a tough catch, but if the Nationals are going to live with a low OBP and stolen base success rate from Morgan, it's going to be because he can play high-end defense in center. That means making a few catches like the one he couldn't come up with.
On the next play, Brennan Boesch singled in front of Morgan. And then Victor Martinez blasted a homer to right, just above a leaping attempt by Jayson Werth, who stayed down for a second after crashing hard and banging his wrist on the wall. He seems fine - I think he might have just been steaming for a second after missing the ball.
So after another good day from Marquis, the Nationals have let things slip while playing defense behind Coffey. We'll see if they can rebound.