The Nationals slim playoff hopes took a serious blow Friday night when Dan Haren only pitched three innings-giving up five runs-and Jose Fernandez nearly no-hit the Nats. The Naationals lost the game to the Marlins 7-0. With the Reds winning their game against the Dodgers, the Nats slid further back in the wild card race.
Dan Haren was leaving balls up over the plate with predictable results. The Marlins were jumping all over his pitches from the get go. The first four Marlins that Haren faced reached base. Chris Coghlan doubled, and Donovan Solano walked. Chris Yelich singled to load the bases for Gian Carlo Stanton who singled to center to drive in Coghlan and Solano. Placido Polanco hit a sacrifice fly to bring Yelich home and the Nats were down three runs at the end of the first inning.
Haren got through the second inning without giving up a run, but the third inning was his undoing. Logan Morrison laced a two run homer to right center, a monster shot that made the score 5-0 Marlins. That was the last inning Haren pitched, making the second game in a row that he did not pitch beyond the third inning.
Jose Fernandez, by contrast, only needed a one run lead to get the win. He had a tremendous game. He had a perfect game going until the fifth inning, when he walked Adam LaRoche. He didn’t give up a hit until the sixth inning, when pinch hitter Zach Walters sneaked a swinging bunt toward third base and got a single. It was his first major league hit. Fernandez went seven innings and gave up no runs.
Fernando Abad came in to pitch the fourth inning, and loaded the bases before we worked his way out of the inning without giving up any runs. Erik Davis pitched a scoreless fifth for the Nats. Xavier Cedeno came in to pitch the sixth and didn’t make it through the inning. Coglan and Solano singled and Coglan scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Yelich. That was the end of Cedeno’s outing. Ryan Mattheus was brought in to get the last two outs, which he did. Mattheus also pitched a scoreless seventh.
Ian Krol pitched the eighth inning, and gave up a home run to Stanton–no surprise there. That made the score 7-0.
The Nationals pitching was inconsistent and the hitting was non-existent. It doesn’t matter if the Nats are playing one of the worst teams in baseball, they can’t beat anyone playing like that.
To be fair, Fernandez pitched a whale of a game. The unfortunate thing was that it was not a pitcher’s duel–which would have been much more fun to watch than the game we got to see.
Next Game: The Nats play the Marlins again Saturday September 7th at 7:05 p.m. Tanner Roark (1.19 ERA) makes his first major league start against Nate Eovaldi (3-5, 3.80 ERA).