Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to salvage one game against the Marlins tonight.
Over the last three seasons, the Nats have played the Marlins 46 times. Their record against them is a pathetic 13-33. Think about that. It's a .283 winning percentage. If a team played at that rate over a full season, it would result in a 46-116 record. That's beyond awful.
On an individual level, Ramirez owns the Nationals as much as his team does. The All-Star shortstop played in his 81st game against Washington last night. His offensive totals: 24 homers, 63 RBI, a .361 average, a .449 on-base percentage, a .703 slugging percentage and a 1.152 OPS. Not a bad stat line if you were to extrapolate that out over a full season.
So Livan Hernandez, a former Marlins postseason hero himself, has quite the challenge in front of him tonight trying to avoid a three-game sweep. For those who don't know, they're giving away DVDs of Stephen Strasburg's big-league debut (featuring the full MASN broadcast, plus a bunch of extras) to the first 15,000 fans in attendance. As far as ballpark giveaways go, that's not too shabby.
Check back for updates before, during and after the game...
MARLINS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of storms, 82 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
2B Adam Kennedy
C Ivan Rodriguez
LF Willie Harris
P Livan Hernandez
SS Hanley Ramirez
LF Logan Morrison
1B Gaby Sanchez
2B Dan Uggla
CF Cody Ross
RF Mike Stanton
3B Donnie Murphy
C Brett Hayes
P Ricky Nolasco
6:54 p.m. -- Weather update: It's been raining pretty hard for the last 45 minutes or so, and the tarp remains on the field. So tonight's game obviously won't be starting on time. The Nats remain hopeful that things will clear up and this game will be played. We'll see.
8:00 p.m. -- Nothing official to report, but the skies do appear to be clearing somewhat to the west. The tarp is still on the infield, but there's some stirring and perhaps we're getting closer to baseball.
8:13 p.m. -- The grounds crew is out and they're about to remove the tarp!
8:16 p.m. -- They're saying the game is expected to begin at 9 p.m.
9:02 p.m. -- And at long last we are underway. A few thousand hearty souls stuck it out through the 1-hour, 57-minute rain delay to see Livan Hernandez throw a strike to Hanley Ramirez.
9:12 p.m. -- 1-2-3 top of the first for Livo, who got a popout, a lineout and a flyout.
9:23 p.m. -- The bottom of the first got off to a promising start, with Roger Bernadina roping a double off left fielder Logan Morrison's glove. But Bernadina never advanced from there. Ian Desmond grounded out to short. Adam Dunn struck out on a low 2-2 pitch. And Ryan Zimmerman popped out to second to end the inning without a run on the board.
9:33 p.m. -- Jim Riggleman on Mike Stanton last night after the 20-year-old went 5-for-5: "He is some kind of good-looking player." Yeah, I'd say so. Stanton just added another bomb to his tally in this series. He launched a shot off the top of the right-field fence. It was originally ruled a triple, but the umps went back to check out replay and reversed the call to a home run. Appears to be the correct call; the ball hit the top of the fence, then rattled around a second fence behind it. Whatever the case, the Marlins now lead 2-0 in the top of the second.
9:42 p.m. -- Nothing happening for the Nats in the bottom of the second, who head to the third still trailing 2-0.
10:25 p.m. -- This isn't exactly shaping up as a fine ballgame from the Nats' perspective. We're through four innings and they now trail 3-0. Livo hasn't been in top form, having allowed six hits so far and thrown 75 pitches. But considering how burned out the bullpen is following back-to-back poor starts by Stephen Strasburg and Scott Olsen, it looks like he's going to have to stay out there a while tonight. Ricky Nolasco, meanwhile, is having no trouble mowing through the Nats' lineup. He's struck out Michael Morse twice, plus Adam Dunn and Adam Kennedy.
10:53 p.m. -- Two comments on the bottom of the fifth. 1) The inability of Nats pitchers to get down sacrifice bunts this season has been staggering. Livo had runners on first and second, nobody out and failed on three straight attempts to advance them. (A quick check on baseball-reference.com shows the Nats as a team have a 65 percent success rate on sac bunt attempts. The league average is 72 percent.) 2) Even after the botched bunt, the Nats still had the bases loaded with two outs for Adam Dunn, who proceeded to strike out on a low, 2-2 slider. Now, that was a pretty good pitch from Ricky Nolasco. Still, if Dunn is going to bat third, he has to come through in those spots. He's already stranded four runners (three in scoring position) through five innings tonight.
11:11 p.m. -- Tonight's paid attendance: 16,496. Obviously, a lot of them stayed home. I don't know how many actually walked through the turnstiles, but I have a hunch the Nats have a good number of those 15,000 Strasburg DVDs still in their possession right now.
11:37 p.m. -- We're through seven innings, and the Nationals are now 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. That is all.
12:19 a.m. -- We have reached the bottom of the ninth. The Nationals trail 5-0. There are perhaps 250 people left in the stands. The ballpark is abuzz with anticipation.
12:23 a.m. -- That's your ballgame, folks. Nats lose 5-0, get swept by the Marlins, have now lost five in a row. Drive home safely.