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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Florida Marlins - 2008 Game 149 of 162.

The Washington Nationals' loss last night left them 2-12 against Florida this season with one more in Miami to be played today before the two teams finish their 2008 matchup with three in DC next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, September 23rd-25th. The finale of this three game series in Dolphin Stadium today gets underway at 1:10 pm EST with DC righty Collin Balester (3-6, 3.86 ERA) on the mound against Marlins' right-hander Anibal Sanchez (2-4, 6.46 ERA).

On The Hill...

Collin Balester's MLB Debut occurred right here in Miami, Florida's Dolphin Stadium waaay back on July 1, 2008, with Balester beating the Marlins 9-6 (for 1 of DC's 2 '08 wins over the Marlins) by throwing 5.0, 1-hit, 1-run innings in which the Nationals' 22-year-old, '04, 4th Round pick , walked 3 and K'd 3 before handing the ball to Steven Shell, Joel Hanrahan, Charlie Manning, Luis Ayala and John Rauch, who let up 5 runs between them but held on for a 9-6 Nationals' win, and Balester's first big league "W".

Marlins' right-hander Anibal Sanchez earned his first MLB "W" back on June 25th 2006, with 5.2 shutout innings pitched against the New York Yankees, against whom he allowed just 7 hits, while striking out 2 in a 5-0 Florida win. In his 13th start of '06 and his career, Anibal Sanchez joined the MLB Record books with a no-hitter against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, in which Sanchez walked 4, K'd 6 and made it through nine hitless innings for the rare 0-filled distinction.

Over three years in the Majors, the 24-year-old Sanchez has faced the Nationals 6 times, and thus far he's undefeated, at (3-0), having pitched 35.2 innings against DC in which he's allowed 31 hits, 13 ER's, 3 HR's and 20 walks with 17 K's and a 2.38 ERA on the mound.

Sanchez has lost two straight with two no-decisions in his last four starts. Collin Balester is (2-5) in his last ten starts with Washington 4-6 in his outings...

Nationals' #'s Against Anibal Sanchez...

Ronnie Belliard - 2 for 5, .400 AVG, 1 2B.

Ryan Langerhans - 2 for 5, .400 AVG, 1 2B.

Dmitri Young - 1 for 5, .200 AVG.

Ryan Zimmerman - 5 for 15, .333 AVG, 1 RBI.

Marlins' #'s Against Collin Balester...

Hanley Ramirez - 0 for 2, .000 AVG, 1 RBI.

Cody Ross - 1 for 2, .500 AVG.


Sunday's Reason To Believe...

At the end of Chico Harlan's article this morning entitled, "Potomac title is something to build on", the Washington Post sports writer quotes DC GM Jim Bowden, who proclaims:

"'I think for the first time next year since we've been in Washington we will have prospects at every level all the way throughout the system,' Bowden said."

St. Claire on Balester...

In's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Balester endures highs and lows", Mr. Ladson talks to DC Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire, who has this to say about the Nationals' rookie right-hander, Collin Balester:

"'His biggest thing for me is his command, his fastball command,' St. Claire said. 'He's slowly improving that, getting ahead of hitters and working down in the zone more. He's kind of a drop-and-drive guy, so he has a tendency to pitch up in the zone a little bit. He's got to learn to be able to pitch down in the strike zone a little bit, and he's working on that here.'"

BIG ?...

Where is DY?

For A Florida-Based Perspective On The Weekend Series, check out the SBN's Marlins' blog:


There's a 50% chance of rain in Florida, but I think that's an everyday thing. The Nationals and Marlins get underway at 1:10 pm EST in Miami. Balester vs Sanchez. Florida looks to win their fifth straight, while DC looks to avoid their fifth loss. Dolphin Stadium...Here's a fun game, try to count the empty Dolphin Blue and Orange seats...Four more to go in '08 with Florida...Starting now-ish...Who's Watching The Nationals?