This is how things are going for the Nationals so far this season...
Washington starter Odalis Perez gets a ground ball from Dan Uggla that should be the second out of the first frame, but Ryan Zimmerman fields and throws it several feet over today's first baseman Aaron Boone's fully-extended mitt. (ed. note - "Boone is 6'2"!"), allowing Uggla to take second, and score from there when the next batter, Jeremy Hermida breaks his bat lining a low fastball to center for a 1-0 Marlins' lead.
Austin Kearns gets a leadoff walk from Marlins' starter Scott Olsen in the second, and Lastings Milledge promptly grounds into a DP. Wily Mo Pena flies out to right. Olsen gives up that one walk, but allows no other hits through three scoreless innings.
Odalis Perez gives up a two-out single to "The Hammer" Josh Willingham, Dan Uggla moves to second on the play. Two on, two out for Mike Jacobs...who grounds out to first to end the third inning play.
Scott Olsen retires the Nationals in order in the top of the fourth. Jorge Cantu hits a leadoff double to left off Odalis Perez, and over Wily Mo Pena's head in the bottom of the inning. Cody Ross rips a grounder to third, Zimmerman fields on his backhand and makes a spinning-throw to first, where Aaron Boone reaches out to make the grab. (ed. note - "Boone was, in fact, off the bag.") Cantu moves to third. Odalis Perez gets Matt Treanor chasing strike three into the dirt. Perez gets the opposing pitcher. 1-0 Florida after four.
Scott Olsen gives up the first hit of the day in the fifth, and Austin Kearns makes it a good one, GONE!! Deep to left and off the empty orange seats in the second deck. 1-1 ballgame. Lastings Milledge grounds out. Aaron Boone goes 0-2 this afternoon, grounding out to third to end the Nationals' fifth. Dan Uggla doubles with one out in the Marlins' half of the fifth. Odalis Perez gets Hermida swinging for the second out. Perez walks Willingham in front of Mike Jacobs. Jacobs grounds to short, Felipe Lopez throws him out. 1-1 after five.
Odalis Perez has the Nationals' second hit of the day, a single up the middle with one down in the sixth. Olsen walks Felipe Lopez. Ronnie Belliard swings through a hanging curve from Olsen for out number two. Ryan Zimmerman flies to center....Cody Ross has it. 1-1 middle of six. Odalis Perez issues a two-out walk to Marlins' catcher Matt Treanor, but Florida leaves Olsen in to bat and Odalis gets him swinging to end the sixth.
Lastings Milledge lines a one-out single to center. Milledge gets picked off trying to steal first. Olsen throws to first, Jacobs' throw beats Milledge to second. Wily Mo Pena grounds out. 1-1 middle of seven, Stand up and Stretch...Luis Ayala takes over for Odalis Perez (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (unearned), 3 BB, 7 K's.) Luis Ayala faces Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez takes a fastball way inside and low and lifts it to center, just over a leaping Lastings Milledge who can't come down with the ball which goes over the wall for a long home run and 2-1 Florida lead. Ayala walks Uggla, but gets a DP grounder from Hermida, Willingham flies to short center. 2-1 after Marlins after seven.
AARON "F'N" BOONE? Doubles off the scoreboard in left to lead off the eigth. Justin Miller's on for Olsen, who lasts (7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's, 1 HR) Estrada grounds to second. Boone to third. Nick Johnson will pinch hit. Taylor Tankersley up for the Marlins. Lefty vs Lefty. Johnson vs Tankersley Redux. Tankersley gets Johnson swinging at a two-strike ball in the dirt. Another curve gets Felipe Lopez swinging. Tankersley holds the Marlins' lead. 2-1 middle of eight.
Saul "Sa-ool" River hangs a breaking ball to Jorge Cantu, who doubles over the wall in center with one out in the eigth. Cody Ross flies out to cent...Lastings Milledge loses it in the late afternoon sun, and the ball drops into the sun-drenched center field grass. Cantu to third. Ross safe at second. Matt Treanor can't find Rivera's sinking fastball. Strike three swinging. Pinch hitter Luis Gonzalez is walked. Hanley Ramirez up with the bases loaded. Wild pitch from Rivera bounces in the dirt and skies off the backstop, Estrada tosses the ball to Rivera at the plate, but it's too late, and the ball gets away, a second run scores. 4-1 Florida. Hanley Ramirez goes deep on another hanging slider...GONE! Ramirez's second HR of the game...goes over the wall in center. 6-1 Marlins after eight.
Florida closer Kevin Gregg was warm so he comes on even with the big lead and ends the game with Milledge swinging at strike three. 6-1 Marlins win.
Nationals now 5-14.
Random #'s and ?'s...
That throwing error on Zimmerman was awful...didn't end up being the difference, but it easily could've been...if the Lastings Milledge "Lost it in the Sun" play and the bases loaded passed ball with Saul Rivera and Johnny Estrada...hadn't made every forget the early errors...
TWO GAMES LOST ON BASES LOADED PASSED BALLS...IN ONE WEEK??? REALLY????
Alright...Felipe Lopez has had a few starts...Who should be starting in the middle of the infield...
Felipe Lopez? Cristian Guzman? Ronnie Bellliard?
I think Guzman's the only one who has really earned the spot so far...so it's back to Belliard and Lopez battling it out for 2nd...and surprisingly, I think Lopez has looked better than Belliard recently...Anyone?
Austin Kearns...1 for 3, HR, 1 run, 1 BB...still batting .212!!!
Ryan Zimmerman - 0-4, 1 E, .215 AVG!!!
Before today's game (ed. note - "...and trust me, not much will change."), the Washington Nationals were dead last in the Majors offensively with a .221 team AVG at the plate. 27th out of 30 in Runs Scored with 67. 24th out of 30 in HR's with 10. 27th out of 30 with a .300 OBP.
The Nationals pitchers have a combined 4.69 ERA ranks 25th overall. The Nationals are 4th in the League in K's!!! AND 6th overall in Walks.
Shawn Hill - The Day After...
According to Barry Svrluga's post entitled, "Is it still early", the Washington Post sports writers, "Nationals Journal" blog, Mr. Svrluga writes:
"Shawn Hill: He told both Manny Acta and Randy St. Claire that he feels fine this morning, normal soreness that he would have the day after he pitches. That's encouraging."
Hill lasted 5.0 innings in his first outing this season, giving up...8 hits and 4 runs while striking out 6. In MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Hill passes first test in return", Hill elaborates on his outing, and the last inning in particular, as Mr. Ladson quotes Hill:
"'I'm not discouraged by it, other than the fact I didn't make the pitches I need to,' Hill said. 'I feel like I should be able to go out and pitch [with] no problem. It's just a matter of making the pitches.'"
...and Mr. Ladson ends the article by noting, "Hill is expected to pitch again on Thursday at home against the Mets," and if he does make that start, that should remove some of the question marks...
But it's Atlanta up next...for two games at "The Ted!!"
Chico vs Hudson tomorrow night...