By Edward McDonald
The Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins split the first two games of their current three-game series with Game 3 scheduled for today at 1:05 pm. The pitching battle will be Tom Koeler (2-2, 4.67 ERA) versus Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26 ERA). Scherzer’s 1-3 record isn’t indicative of how he’s pitched on the season. He has gotten two runs or fewer in four of his five starts this season, including a single run of support in his last two starts. His 1.26 ERA is the lowest in the National League.
In Game one of the three-game series, Washington was able to rally in both the 7th and 8th innings to win the game. After a home run by first baseman, Justin Bour, Miami took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 7th before Jason Werth answered by scoring pinch-runner Michael Taylor on a single.
Miami would respond by scoring two runs in the top of the 8th when pinch-hitter Jeff Baker singled home Dee Gordon and Ichiro reached on an infield single to score Giancarlo Stanton. Washington would yet again answer, this time scoring four runs in the bottom half of the 8th inning, sending eight batters to the plate. A leadoff walk led to a two-run home run by Ian Desmond to tie the game at four. Later in the inning, with two outs, the Nats recorded three straight hits to take a 6-4 lead. Tyler Moore had a pinch-hit single, Denard Span followed with a double and then Yunel Eacobar came through with a two-run single. Escobar finished the game 5-5 with a run scored and two RBIs. Tanner Roark came in to shut the Marlins down in the 9th for his first career save. Washington pounded out 12 hits in the victory.
In Game 2, the Nationals recorded just three hits in a 2-1 loss. All three runs scored in the game came in the 2nd inning. Ichiro got the scoring started with an RBI single before eventually scoring on an error from Stephen Strasburg on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Dan Uggla grounded out to third base in the bottom of the 2nd to score Ryan Zimmerman, but that would be the final run scored of the game. Speaking of Strasburg, the young righty left the game after just three innings pitched due to a shoulder injury. He said after the game he probably could have gone through it, but it wasn’t worth it at this point in the season. Strasburg threw 64 pitches, gave up four hits, walked a pair of Marlins’ batters and hit a batter. Strasburg dropped to 2-3 on the season. Mat Latos recorded the win for Miami, his first of the season. Strasburg’s shoulder issue doesn’t appear to be a big deal, but it is something the Nationals should be cautious of.
Washington enters Wednesday at 13-15, while the Marlins sport a 13-14 record. Both teams had high hopes going into the season, but so far, neither team has lived up to the preseason hype. Washington will have an off day Thursday before hosting the Atlanta Braves in a three-game series starting Friday.