After the Nationals' win in the Sunday matinee of the first series of the season between the divisional rivals, Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker was asked for this thoughts on what he saw from the Marlins.
"They've got a good team," Baker said. "They've got a real good team. They've got some guys up and down that lineup that can hit, they've got some speed. I haven't seen all their pitchers yet, but they've got a good team.
The Nationals faced a difficult task in the series opener tonight in Miami, going up against 23-year-old right-hander Jose Fernandez, who made 26 starts in Marlins Park before suffering his first loss in the Marlins' home in his first start of the 2016 campaign, a 5 ⅔-inning outing against the Detroit Tigers in which he gave up five hits and five runs, but struck out 13 batters.
Tonight in Miami, the Marlins gave Fernandez three runs to work with in the home-half of the first with Christian Yelich (RBI single through short) and Marcell Ozuna (two-out, two-run liner to left-center) driving in runs off Nationals' right-hander Tanner Roark as the home team jumped out to a 3-0 lead early.
After the Nationals left the bases loaded in the top of the second, the Marlins added a run in the bottom of the inning with Adeiny Hechavarria singling to start the frame and scoring from third on a groundout by Martin Prado, 4-0.
Fernandez struggled with his command early, walking four (one intentionally) and striking out seven while throwing 82 pitches in the first four innings pitched, holding the Nationals hitless.
Michael A. Taylor doubled with one down in the fifth, for the Nats' first hit and the second followed in the next at bat when Anthony Rendon singled to center. A sac fly by Bryce Harper brought Taylor in from third for the Nats' first run, 4-1.
With two out in the fifth, however, Roark missed his spot with a 2-0 fastball to Giancarlo Stanton, who hit it out to right-center for a solo blast that made it 5-1 Miami.
Fernandez was done after six innings of work.
Jose Fernandez's Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 9 Ks, 103 P, 64 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Tanner Roark's Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 88 P, 54 S, 12/2 GO/FO.
Giancarlo Stanton drove in the Marlins' sixth run with an RBI single off Matt Belisle in the bottom of the seventh, 6-1.
That's how it ended, mercifully, two innings later. Uninspiring start to the four-game set for the Nationals.
Nationals now 9-3
- The Nationals' seven-game win streak was snapped in Sunday afternoon's extra innings loss to the Phillies. Tonight's loss made it two straight in the loss column.
- Bryce Harper hit home runs in four straight games, setting a career high for consecutive games with a home run, and if he hits another one tonight, he'll be the first National (2005-present) to hit homers in five straight.
- If Harper can get up to six straight games with home runs, he'll join a short list with Roy Sievers and Frank Howard, the only two players in D.C. baseball history to homer in six straight.
- In today's Nationals-themed Fun with Arbitrary End Points segment: The Nats hold a 38-21 advantage over the Marlins... since 2013. Miami has the advantage in the all-time matchup (since 2005) with a 109-93 record against Washington.
- Ryan Zimmerman's 25 home runs against the Marlins are the most he's hit against any other major league opponent.
- Jayson Werth is still one home run shy of 200 for his career. He's hit just one career home run in 29 games and 115 PAs in Marlins Park, where he had a .303/.383/.394 line before tonight.
- Daniel Murphy has now reached base safely in 23 of his first 44 plate appearances with the Nationals, connecting for three doubles, two triples and two home runs over his first 11 games with the Nationals. He singled to start the sixth and extend his current hitting streak to 10 straight games.
- Jose Fernandez started the night (3-0) with a 0.98 ERA and a .164/.241/.278 line against in six starts and 36 ⅔ IP against the Nationals. He held the Nationals hitless through four innings.
Nationals now 9-3