No one was taking anyone lightly, in spite of the fact that Miami’s Marlins had won just four of their first 19 games this season, had dropped four straight, and had been held scoreless over 23 innings going into last night’s series opener with the Washington Nationals.
“Every game matters, regardless of who you play, and they’re in our division,” Nats’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters before the first of three with the Fish.
“So we’ve just got to go out there today and like I said, Aníbal [Sánchez] has to do his thing, keep us in the ballgame, and we’ve got to score some runs.”
Martinez’s club managed to score one early and extend the Marlins’ scoreless inning streak to 24-straight innings, but Miami tied it up in the second, and added two in the sixth inning, with a bases-loaded walk and hit-by-pitch in consecutive at bats giving the home team the lead in what ended up a 3-2 win.
Nationals’ hitters went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and four left on base overall in the one-run loss.
Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly talked, after the fifth win in 20 games, about how his team bounced back from a rough stretch of nine losses in the previous ten games and a sweep in their series against the Chicago Cubs.
“I was just looking for a fight,” Mattingly said. “You know, that’s all. Not that we weren’t, but just with more conviction I think as much as anything else, making sure we’re convicted in our three hours, right? In your at bats. Have a conviction and a fight in you that no matter what happens it’s just going to be a fight, and I think we’ve seen that with a lot of at bats tonight. Their guy can really pitch, you know, and it never stops.”
“It’s Max [Scherzer] tomorrow,” he added, “it’s [Stephen] Strasburg, it never stops, so you’ve got to come up with that fight every game, four at bats, five at bats, whatever it is, and get down the road.”
Martinez and the Nationals are in for another fight tonight, with Marlins’ righty Jose Ureña on the mound in the second of three in Miami.
Ureña dropped each of his first three starts this season and is winless in four, but last time out on the mound, the 27-year-old starter was a hard-luck loser after tossing seven strong against the Philadelphia Phillies in which he gave up seven hits but just one earned run in a 3-1 loss.
Will the Nationals bounce back with Scherzer on the mound and even things up?