Nationals keep finding way vs. Marlins
WASHINGTON — It happened yet again. On Tuesday night the Marlins got another dose of “Natitude.”
The Nationals have certainly had their way with the Marlins since last year. Remember the opener of 2013? I know, it’s understandable if you completely erased all of the season from your memory. But it did exist.
The Marlins opened 2013 at Nationals Park, and promptly were shut out in their first two games. In game three, Justin Ruggiano hit a solo home run, and it was the lone run in the series Miami scored.
That was then. Now, the Marlins are substantially better. They entered Tuesday leading the Majors in runs scored. Then, with Gio Gonzalez on the mound, it happened again. Final score: Nationals 5, Marlins 0.
Make it five times in their last 11 games at Nationals Park the Marlins have failed to score a run. Five times!
It’s a sore spot for the club.
Manager Mike Redmond was more disappointed about not scoring than a few of the mistakes Miami made turning a 1-0 deficit into a three-run hole the team couldn’t dig out from under.
Miami went 1-9 at Washington a year ago, and now are off to an 0-1 start this year.
* Washington third baseman continued to do serious damage to Miami. Anthony Rendon filled in for Ryan Zimmerman on Tuesday. Rendon went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. He also made a tremendous defensive play to rob Reed Johnson of a bunt hit. The play was huge because Miami had a runner on and could have gotten something going.
Zimmerman, of course, has feasted on Marlins’ pitchers. In his career, he is batting .315 with 23 homers and 77 RBIs vs. Miami. His 23 HRs are a high vs. any opponent.
* Failure to execute matters. A key play, of course, was Jeff Baker not holding onto Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s throw, which would have ended the sixth inning without Washington scoring. Adam LaRoche’s slide helped knock the ball out of Baker’s glove.
The play could have unfolded another way. While Salty made a strong, accurate throw to second, he could have avoided a throw entirely. On the play, Bryce Harper was half-way down the third base line. Had Salty simply charged at Harper, he would have been helplessly in a run down. Either way, there was an out to be had in two spots.
* Adeiny Hechavarria had a good at-bat in the third inning, and slapped a single to right field. The Marlins could have had something going. A leadoff hit with the middle of the order looming. Down a run, Hechavarria was aggressive on the bases. Gio Gonzalez threw over as Hechavarria sprinted towards second. It was ruled a caught steal. Again, costly. Two batters later, Giancarlo Stanton singled. So two of the first three batters singled in the inning, and Miami had no real threat.
Gio went on to retire eight straight after Stanton’s hit.
* It is encouraging that the Marlins are running up pitch counts. Gio allowed three runs in six innings, but he was done after 101 pitches. He was at 59 through three.
The Marlins are making pitchers work. Next, they have to make them pay.
– Joe Frisaro