Wire Taps: Nationals and Marlins' benches clear; Can Nats beat Jose Fernandez in Miami?

Mike Ehrmann

The Washington Nationals have taken four of five from the Miami Marlins thus far in 2014, but they'll have to either beat Jose Fernandez for the first time in Marlins Park or at least outlast him to take the second series of the season with the Fish...

A night after Tom Koehler shut the Washington Nationals down, holding them scoreless over seven innings in which he allowed just one hit, the Nats have to face 21-year-old Miami Marlins' right-hander Jose Fernandez tonight in the series finale in Marlins Park. Fernandez brings a (1-0) record and a 0.69 ERA against the Nats into the third game of three for the Nationals in Miami, having faced the Marlins' NL East rivals just two times thus far in his career. In those two starts, however, he's held the Nats to a run on five hits in 13 IP, over which he's walked five and struck out 13.

He's also undefeated at home thus far in his year-plus in the majors, with an 11-0 record in the Marlins' shiny new ballpark, having posted a 1.14 ERA in 110 2/3 IP in Miami in which he's walked 30 (2.44 BB/9) and struck out 125 (10.17 K/9).

After tonight it's a four-game set with St. Louis in the nation's capital... where the Nationals will face Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller...

No one ever said it was going to be easy. 7:10 pm EDT tonight. Until then, links and lots of them... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "With the Marlins leading 6-0 in the fourth inning, the benches cleared after Ian Desmond and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia jawed at each other at home plate." - "Benches clear in Nationals-Marlins game after Ian Desmond, Jarrod Saltalamacchia jaw at each other" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Stephen Strasburg took his second loss of the 2014 season on Tuesday night in a game that turned ugly very quickly." - "Strasburg’s poor outing continues troubling early season trend" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "This was most certainly one of those games a team would like to just toss out the window and forget about." - "Nationals Pastime: Postgame reactions after Nats' 11-2 loss" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Last time out, Jose Fernandez showed a side of himself no one had seen before -- basically, a human side." - "Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins - April 16, 2014" - Joe Frisaro, MLB.com Preview

• "Good teams hoping to win a division shouldn’t lose games by such a wide margin." - "Nationals vs. Marlins: Stephen Strasburg is roughed up on long night for Washington" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "A troubling trend resurfaced for the Nationals Tuesday night at Marlins Park." - "Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins - April 15, 2014" - Christina De Nicola, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Remember during draft time when all the naysayers complained about Anthony Rendon and his ability to stay healthy?" - "Rendon staying healthy and delivering big hits for Nationals" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "In the Marlins' 11-2 win over the Nationals, tempers heated up in the fourth inning after Tom Koehler's pitch ran inside on Ian Desmond." - "Warnings issued after benches clear between Nationals and Marlins" - Joe Frisaro, nationals.com: News

• "Starting pitching is the backbone of the Nationals. It is what carried the team to a division title in 2012 despite injuries to key players..." - "Nationals starting pitchers have struggled early" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "The Washington Nationals trail the Braves by a game and a half in the NL East 14 games into the 2014 MLB season..." - "Matt Williams Perplexed by Nats-Braves Matchup" - Chris Lingebach, CBS DC

• "Span, who is currently on the seven-day disabled list, took swings before and during batting practice on Monday." - "Span eyeing Saturday return from concussion" - Christina De Nicola, nationals.com: News

• "There have been very few times early in Matt Williams' managerial career when we've seen or heard him legitimately frustrated about something." - "Nationals Pastime: A couple of issues through the season's first two-plus weeks" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Span was monitored closely as he performed the physical activity and was slated to see a doctor after every day’s worth of exertion." - "Denard Span improving, hopes to play rehab games by end of week" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "The pitch was high and inside to the Washington Nationals’ Ian Desmond, and he didn’t like it. " - "Things get a bit testy as Marlins rout Stephen Strasburg, Nationals" - Steven Winde, AP/Washington Times

• "Mike Redmond said it was going to take a big hit, a big pitching performance or even a big defensive play to put an end to the Marlins’ eight-game losing skid." - "Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna pace Miami Marlins’ rout of Washington Nationals" - Manny Navarro, MiamiHerald.com

• "Braves and Nationals fans got into a heated war of worlds." - "Chat wrap: Uggla, Braves, Nationals, more" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

• "It's fair to say that nobody saw this coming. Strasburg, who had been outstanding all season up until this point, got lit up by the Marlins lineup." - "Fish Cap: Miami Marlins 11, Washington Nationals 2" - Sam Evans, Fish Stripes

• "There’s nothing in the world like a manager and umpire screaming at each other. You don’t get that now." - "'God:" 'They are ruining baseball'" - Nick Canepa, UTSanDiego.com

• "Even though he started the season 2 for 14, Christian Yelich never felt like he was having bad at-bats." - "Miami Marlins’ Christian Yelich rebounds from slow start at plate" - Manny Navarro, Miami Marlins - MiamiHerald.com

• "At one point in the dream-like 'liquid world' of Bryce Harper's first commercial as a spokesman for Gatorade, he swings and literally tears the cover off the ball like Roy Hobbs in 'The Natural.'" - "World premiere! Bryce Harper's first Gatorade commercial is liquid fun" - David Brown, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports Canada

• "Who better than the man who might as well wear a giant S on his chest? Giancarlo Stanton wasted no time..." - "Miami Marlins: Stanton, Koehler put end to 8-game skid" - Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel

• "In the above video, Harper makes his first and only appearance on the mound for CSN, starting at about the 4:26 mark." - "Watch 17-year-old Bryce Harper make his lone college pitching appearance" - Ted Berg, For The Win

• "The  brief confrontation Tuesday between the Marlins and Nationals after Tom Koehler threw a pitch too close to Washington's Ian Desmond amounted to nothing of substance." - "Marlins find unity in confrontation with Nationals" - Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel

• "In need of what the Washington Nationals termed 'bullpen reinforcements after a taxing few games,' the club announced Saturday it had optioned former Wabash Valley College pitcher Aaron Barrett to Triple-A Syracuse..." - "Barrett sent down to AAA" - Scott Allen, Daily Republican Register: Local Sports

• NATS MINORS:

• "Wednesday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• "The Potomac Nationals (6-5, 2-2) and Myrtle Beach Pelicans (7-4, 0-4) were suspended due to excessive rainfall in their series opener at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark..." - "Nationals and Pelicans Suspended in Series Opener with Potomac Leading 4-3 Heading to 3rd Inning" - Potomac Nationals News

• NATSTOWN:

• "Hitting For The Cycle: Doctoring Baseballs, Tommy John Surgeries, Defensive Shifts, And Reliever Award" - Craig MacHenry, The Nats Blog

• "Up above, the video for Bryce Harper's new Gatorade Fierce commercial, in which Harper appears in a somewhat liquified form..." - "Video: Bryce Harper's new Gatorade commercial is pretty weird" - Nats Enquirer


• "A Baltimore Orioles billboard — featuring Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Manny Machado — has been strategically placed along I-295 in Maryland just before the Washington, D.C. border." - "This Orioles Billboard Is Less Than 7 Miles from Nationals Park" - Chris Lingebach, CBS DC

• "Strasburg though is different. He's had 4 starts so far with one mediocre outing and two certified stinkers." - "What samatta with Strasburg?" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Get To Know A Nat 2014: Kevin Frandsen" - Nationals 101

• "There's no better way to make a 6-0 drubbing in the 4th inning (eventually an 11-2 final) watchable than by telling the opposing pitcher to throw it over the plate..." - "Ian Desmond tells Tom Koehler of the Marlins to throw it over the plate" - Nats Enquirer

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies: "Here's a rundown on how the Phillies' minor league teams fared on Tuesday, April 15..." - "Phillies Minor League Report: Aaron Altherr helps Threshers end nine-game skid" - Jerry Gaul, Philly.com

Mets: "Terry Collins said Tuesday that he is not planning to use Lucas Duda in the outfield, as a way to deal with recent injuries on the team." - "Lucas Duda will not play in the OF, says Terry" - Maggie Wiggin, Metsblog

Braves: "An offensive liability even at Triple-A right now, [Christian] Bethancourt nevertheless has the defensive tools to provide something like league-average value at the majors." - "Prospect Watch: Montgomery, Bethancourt" - Marc Hulet, FanGraphs Baseball

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