Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Sun Life Stadium has been deluged with rain tonight.
Perhaps more notable is that Nyjer Morgan is back in the lineup after getting benched yesterday in the wake of his unusual play at the plate Saturday night. And just as was the case Saturday, Morgan is batting eighth.
Meanwhile, Ian Desmond gets a game off, with Alberto Gonzalez starting at shortstop and batting second behind Adam Kennedy. Jason Marquis, fresh off his best start of the season, returns to the mound against rookie Alex Sanabia, who beat the Nats 1-0 here last month.
Check back for updates throughout the evening...
NATIONALS at MARLINS
Where: Sun Life Stadium
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of storms, 82 degrees, Wind 16 mph in from RF
2B Adam Kennedy
SS Alberto Gonzalez
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
RF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
CF Nyjer Morgan
P Jason Marquis
2B Emilio Bonifacio
LF Logan Morrison
SS Hanley Ramirez
1B Gaby Sanchez
3B Chad Tracy
RF Mike Stanton
CF Cameron Maybin
C Brett Hayes
P Alex Sanabia
5:13 p.m. -- For those wondering about why Ian Desmond is not in the lineup, it's not an issue with his thumb or any other injury. Jim Riggleman said he'll be looking to give Desmond a few more games off down the stretch than he got earlier in the year. "I really felt that here in his first season, I really wanted him to have about a 500-at-bat season. That's the pace he's on, and he'll probably end up somewhere in that area. That's going to allow Gonzalez to get a game tonight and keep Kennedy going. It just kind of fits what we're trying to do with Ian."
5:27 p.m. -- Couple other small tidbits to share from the clubhouse: Mike Rizzo says he probably won't be making any September call-ups until Class AAA Syracuse's season is over. The Chiefs play their final game next Monday afternoon at Pawtucket, so look for the call-ups to arrive in D.C. the next day before the Nats' game against the Mets. Rizzo wouldn't reveal any names yet, but Yunesky Maya is scheduled to make one more start this week and then figures to get promoted before making his next start. ... Also, Rizzo revealed the names of two players who will participate in the Arizona Fall League: Derek Norris and Sammy Solis. Norris was supposed to play in the AFL last year but broke his hamate bone during the Florida instructional league and thus was sidelined. Solis was the Nats' second-round pick in this year's draft and just signed on deadline day for $1 million. The left-hander from the University of San Diego will pitch in the instructional league (which begins Sept. 17) and then head to Arizona, basically the same path Stephen Strasburg took last year.
5:47 p.m. -- Change to Florida's lineup: Dan Uggla has been scratched with a strained groin. He's day-to-day. Emilio Bonifacio takes over at second base and will bat leadoff, while Gaby Sanchez gets bumped up to the cleanup spot previously held by Uggla.
6:01 p.m. -- The skies are ominously dark over Sun Life Stadium right now, and it looks like it's about to start pouring. Which means we're probably looking at a delayed start to the game. It's not supposed to last all night, so it shouldn't be a really late night, but first pitch might not be til 8 p.m. or so. I'll update if I hear anything more definitive.
7:00 p.m. -- We will officially be in a rain delay in 10 minutes. No word yet when this thing may get underway. Must be a frustrating experience for the dozens of fans who decided to show up tonight. Seriously, this is going to be one of those games where you can count the attendance by hand.
8:22 p.m. -- Still no word on a projected starting time. It's just been pouring here and there is a ridiculous amount of standing water in the outfield. Check out the above photo. It's hard to imagine the grounds crew being able to get the field playable in a reasonable amount of time. We'll see.
9:12 p.m. -- How hard is it raining here? I think I just saw Jim Cantore strapped to the foul pole doing a live report on The Weather Channel.
9:24 p.m. -- I don't believe what I'm watching right now. They've pulled the tarp and are currently squeegeeing about 100,000 gallons of water off the field. They've announced the game is expected to begin at 10 p.m. Unreal.
9:59 p.m. -- And we are finally underway with an estimated 300 fans witnessing Alex Sanabia's first pitch to Adam Kennedy.
10:07 p.m. -- The Nats go down in order in the top of the first as the Marlins outfielders go hydroplaning. Left fielder Logan Morrison did a full, out-of-control slide into the bullpen wall trying to track down a pop-foul. Right fielder Mike Stanton kicked up all kinds of water running in to catch a shallow fly ball. Can't say I've ever seen a ballgame played in these conditions.
10:15 p.m. -- Hanley Ramirez takes Jason Marquis deep to right (as Morse splishes and splashes his way in vain to the wall) to put the Marlins on top 1-0.
10:25 p.m. -- The Nats get the run back in the top of the second. Ryan Zimmerman singles to shallow center field. Which isn't to say he didn't hit the ball hard. It's just that once it reached the outfield grass, it died in a pool of water. Adam Dunn then followed with a double off the left-field wall, a rare display of opposite-field power, bringing Zim home. 1-1 as we go to the bottom of the second.
10:43 p.m. -- Holy cow did Zimmerman just crush a fastball from Sanabia. The ball struck a scoreboard on the facing of the upper deck in left field, knocking out one panel. This game is apparently now being played at "Sun Life Stadiu". Oh yeah, there were two men on at the time. So the Nats now lead 4-1 in the third on an absolute bomb from Zim.
10:59 p.m. -- Marquis put himself in quite a pickle in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with two outs to bring up Gaby Sanchez. But he coaxed a lazy fly ball to right out of the Marlins' cleanup man to end the inning. Still 4-1 as we go to the fourth.
11:38 p.m. -- Tonight's official paid attendance: 18,326. Which means 18,000 people actually paid to attend this game but never actually saw it.
11:50 p.m. -- Brett Hayes tags a two-run homer off Jason Marquis, cutting the lead to 4-3 in the sixth, and ending Marquis' night. On the bright side, Marquis cannot lose this game. Which means he can't go 0-8 in his first eight starts of the season. By the end of the night, he'll either be 1-7 or 0-7. Progress, people. Progress.
12:00 a.m. -- Justin Maxwell just went all the way around the bases on an error and two wild pitches. Is that considered "manufacturing" a run? Whatever it is, it put the Nats on top 5-3 in the seventh.
12:11 a.m. -- I guess Adam Dunn's slump is over. He just crushed a three-run homer to center off Brian Sanches, who didn't exactly have the best seventh inning. Four runs, two walks, three wild pitches. Amazingly, none of the runs are earned because of Tracy's error to start the inning. No matter, Nats now lead 8-3 at the seventh-inning stretch.
12:19 a.m. -- Trivia time: What duo leads the National League in home runs this season? It's a tie between Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday ... and Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman. Each duo has hit 58. Pretty good company, I'd say.
12:46 a.m. -- Mike Stanton just singled over Alberto Gonzalez's head with two outs in the eighth. Why is that significant? Because Stanton had been hitless over his previous 31 at-bats. OH-FER-THIRTY-ONE! That, my friends, is a slump. We go to the ninth, Nats still up 8-3.
12:56 a.m. -- His team up six runs as we go to the bottom of the ninth, Riggleman just put Ian Desmond in at shortstop, moved Alberto Gonzalez to second base, moved Adam Kennedy to first and benched Adam Dunn. Uncle!
1:04 a.m. -- Game over. Nats win, 9-3. Jason Marquis finally gets his first win in his eighth start, improves to 1-7. Has a 2.50 ERA over his last three starts. The bullpen, meanwhile, recorded 10 outs, nine of them via strikeout.