After witnessing fourteen innings of baseball in Nationals Park that at times looked like a Little Game, we get early baseball today. Those two games with errors turning a single into a three-bagger and a lazy liner popping out of a glove by the Marlins, and the Nats players not communicating with each other on two popups and booting grounder after grounder were mind-boggling. — You just want to turn the page on those two games yesterday that lasted seven innings each in a split for each team.
Unfortunately, Max Scherzer was not pitch efficient in the first game throwing 108-pitches over just 4 2/3 innings caused manager Dave Martinez to go to his three best relievers quickly to save the game and squeak out a 5-4 win. When Davey used Kyle Finnegan and Tanner Rainey early, he didn’t have them when he needed them for the second game when Wil Crowe was in trouble due to his defense and departing with bases loaded in a 2-1 deficit. The Nats skipper went straight to Seth Romero to get one out and that proved costly as he allowed two earnies on Crowe’s record to score on two dribblers that were both ruled hits but should have been made by Romero himself on the first play then the next one to Trea Turner. The Nats pulled back to a one run deficit after a Victor Robles two-run 109 mph HR that left the playing area quickly. As things went in Game 2 of the doubleheader, Dakota Bacus could not grip his slider and gave up his first run in relief.
“When you give other teams seven or eight extra outs, it’s tough to compete,” Martinez said after the game. “That’s what we did tonight.”
In baseball, they say today is a new day, but the Nats have to communicate better on defense. They are playing in empty stadiums. The centerfielder is still the captain of the outfield, and the shortstop is the captain of the infield. Talk to each other. Yelling “I got it” means you got it and everyone else should peel off. Yelling someone’s name should mean they should take the ball just like yelling out when a play is behind you where to throw the ball when the catcher yells to the pitcher “one one one” to throw to first base. These are not even communication issues with newbies, rather it is with veteran players.
As for this game, the Nats have their own Sanchez on the mound in Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins have rightie Humberto Mejia going and he has two career games on his record with just 6 1/3 innings with a 1.58 WHIP and a 5.68 ERA. Sanchez, who had been struggling himself this season, looked much better in his last start.
The Nats and Marlins both had to make roster moves as they had 29-players from the doubleheader and had to get back to 28 for today.
At some point, the Nats have to get on a long winning streak or this season will be over for the Nats by the third week of September. The team enters this game at 10-14 and must play some consistent good baseball that hopefully will get them going. Davey has been taking on extra criticism on social media, but this is the same man who put his faith in his starters and put his relievers in spots to succeed throughout the postseason and received praise for his moves. Players have to play, and that means they have to perform when their number is called.
“If we all compete whenever it’s your turn and give it whatever you’ve got, I always say if you do that we’ll end up in a good spot,” Turner said. “It hasn’t gone our way so far, but we’ve got to keep our head up and keep going and keep pushing. This is still wide open. We’ve still got a good shot at it.”
Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 12:35 pm EDT
TV: MASN2; FOX Sports Florida; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice:
The #Nats lineup this Sunday afternoon:
Trea Turner SS
Adam Eaton RF
Juan Soto LF
Howie Kendrick DH
Eric Thames 1B
Kurt Suzuki C
Luis García 2B
Carter Kieboom 3B
Victor Robles CF
Anibal Sanchez RHP
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) August 23, 2020