Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to make it two in a row against the Diamondbacks.
Marquis will be opposed tonight by Ian Kennedy. Not to be confused by Ian Desmond. Or Adam Kennedy. Though both of those guys are in the Nats' lineup. The Nats had success against the Arizona right-hander 10 days ago in Phoenix, knocking him out after four innings, with Adam Dunn taking him deep twice. Dunn, to no one's surprise, is in Jim Riggleman's lineup tonight.
Michael Morse, however, is not in the lineup after starting the Nationals' last 10 games. His numbers over that span: a .135 average (5-for-37), .158 on-base percentage, .297 slugging percentage. He does have two homers and three RBI, but he also has eight strikeouts and has grounded into three double plays.
Check back for updates before, during and after the game...
DIAMONDBACKS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind 9 mph RF to LF
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Josh Willingham
2B Adam Kennedy
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Willie Harris
P Jason Marquis
CF Chris Young
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Justin Upton
1B Adam LaRoche
C Miguel Montero
3B Mark Reynolds
SS Stephen Drew
LF Gerardo Parra
P Ian Kennedy
7:09 p.m. -- We are underway on another surprisingly cool August evening in the District. Gametime temperature: 80 degrees. Jason Marquis, on the mound at Nationals Park for the first time since that disastrous April 18 start against the Brewers, starts Chris Young off with a fastball for a strike.
7:15 p.m. -- Wow, fantastic 6-4-3 double play started by Ian Desmond, who snagged Justin Upton's smashed grounder to his right, then flipped backhand to Adam Kennedy, who fired to Adam Dunn in time. Nice way for Marquis to end the top of the first.
7:28 p.m. -- So much for the perfectly clean outing from Marquis. After Bernadina was unable to haul in Adam LaRoche's drive to left-center, Miguel Montero crushed a 3-0 pitch in the exact same direction. Montero's blast, though, carried the extra 20 feet needed to clear the fence and land in the Red Porch. Marquis did manage to retire the next two batters he faced, but then Gerardo Parra demolished the first pitch he saw to center for another homer. So for those keeping track, Marquis has now allowed 28 runs (25 earned) in 14 1/3 innings of work this season. Nats trail 3-0 in the second.
7:34 p.m. -- Ryan Zimmerman to the rescue. He just homered into the left-field bullpen to open the bottom of the second and cut the lead to 3-1.
7:46 p.m. -- And Marquis gives it right back. Kelly Johnson homers to left with one out in the third, the third Diamondback to homer off Marquis in a span of seven batters. This one was greeted with plenty of boos from the stands.
7:49 p.m. -- So, Marquis has now given up four earned runs in three innings tonight ... and his ERA has actually DROPPED from 15.32 to 14.67.
8:22 p.m. -- And that will do it for Marquis. For the fifth time in five starts this season, he fails to make it through the fifth inning. He just loaded the bases to open the fifth, allowing a single to the opposing pitcher, a double off the wall to Young and then a walk to Johnson. There was plenty of applause from the crowd when Riggleman came out of the dugout to yank his starter. Craig Stammen now faces the challenge of Justin Upton with the bases loaded, nobody out and the Nats trailing 4-2.
8:30 p.m. -- Fantastic job by Craig Stammen pitching out of that jam. He allowed one of the inherited runners to score, but he can't be blamed for that. Got a double play grounder out of Upton and then struck out LaRoche. I've got to believe in his mind, he's thinking he should still be in the rotation.
8:37 p.m. -- Ready for some unbelievable stats? Warning: Hide the kids before reading this, because it may give them nightmares. Here are opponents' offensive numbers against Marquis this season: .405 batting average, .489 on-base percentage, .703 slugging percentage, 1.192 OPS. So basically, every guy who comes up to face him is the greatest hitter in the history of baseball.
8:53 p.m. -- Miguel Batista came in to pitch the sixth and pitched like ... well, Miss Iowa. Montero led off with his second homer of the night. After a comebacker for an out, the next four batters all recorded base hits. By the time it was over, three more runs had scored on five hits. It's now 8-2 in the middle of the sixth, and the crowd has grown restless.
9:12 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the Nats have done next-to-nothing tonight against Ian Kennedy. Through seven innings, they've got two runs on five hits and a walk. Roger Bernadina is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. He's due up second in the eighth, with a shot at the Golden Sombrero.
9:42 p.m. -- Last chance for the Nats. They're down 9-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth. Have to admit, I'm not liking their chances here, even against the Diamondbacks' wretched bullpen.
9:51 p.m. -- That's it. It's over. A 9-2 loss is in the books, another ugly loss in a homestand full of them. The Nats' worst multi-series homestand of the season came against the White Sox and Royals in June, when they went 2-4. They'll need to win tomorrow behind Stephen Strasburg to match that.