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Nats Nightly: Tough afternoon on South Beach as all the doves cry

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The FBB crew discusses Max Scherzer's rough start and Bryce Harper's continued brilliance as the Washington Nationals dropped the last of a four-game set with the Miami Marlins 5-1 on Thursday afternoon.

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Max Scherzer was not his sharpest. Not by a country mile. And the only offense generated was Bryce Harper's eighth home run of the season, off starter Tom Koehler in the first inning. The result was then predictable: the Washington Nationals dropped the last of a four-game set to split the series with the Miami Marlins 5-1 in the monstrosity of the stadium they play in down there.

Scherzer was roughed up right from the get-go. He was wild, gave up solid contact, and surrendered a three-run shot to Marcel Ozuna before he recorded two outs. He gave single runs in the second and fifth innings as well, en route to one of this worst stat lines of his Nats career: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. It ups his season ERA to 4.32.

Despite his obvious ineffectiveness in the first inning, manager Dusty Baker needed to get a few innings out of his opening day starter due to Yusmeiro Petit throwing four innings on Wednesday in relief of Joe Ross, who suffered a blister and had to come out after two impressive innings. Scherzer threw 99 pitches in his five laborious innings.

The last time Scherzer allowed five or more runs and struck out three or fewer was last August in San Francisco. Before that you'd have to go all the way back to 2012. So, not good.

Meanwhile, the hitters could muster nothing against Koehler save for Harper's clout. Only one other Nats hitter reached base via hit -- Wilson Ramos' infield single in the second inning. That's right, zero hits from the third on.

The Nats head home for a three-game weekend series with the Minnesota Twins, who along with the rest of the music world mourns the loss of one of their native sons and one of rock's most iconic and prolific musicians, writers, performers and producers. Rest funky, Prince Rogers Nelson.

*****

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to get through this thing called...life. Electric word, life -- it means forever and that's a mighty long time. But I'm here to tell you, there's something else...

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)