Miami Marlins center fielder Justin Ruggiano (right) celebrates with catcher Rob Brantly (second from right) after defeating the Washington Nationals 8-2 at Marlins Park.
The Washington Nationals fell 7 runs behind tonight in Marlins Park as both pitching and hitting abandoned them. The Miami Marlins eventually won the game 8-2, dropping the suddenly-disappointing Nats to 8-6 and 2-3 on the road. The Nats have now lost 4 of 5 and their pitching, thought to be a team strength, is a complete disaster.
Two-thirds of the outfield and the top third of the lineup were out last night with the flu, as manager Davey Johnson sat Denard Span and Bryce Harper. Roger Bernadina and Tyler Moore took their places, making the lineup look like this:
RF Jayson Werth
CF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
2B Steve Lombardozzi
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Dan Haren
Dan Haren lasted barely over 4 innings before being pulled, giving up 7 runs and 7 hits. Only three of those runs were earned, thanks to Ryan Zimmerman's fourth error of the season. Haren's ERA through three starst -- two awful and one mediocre -- is 8.1 and I'm wondering why the team wouldn't be better with the younger and cheaper John Lannan. The bullpen wasn't much better, with both Craig Stammen and Henry Rodriguez struggling to throw strikes and get outs.
Things started well enough for the Nats, with Jayson Werth leading off the game with a single and Zimmerman reaching on a walk. However, Roger Bernandina hit into a 4-6-3 double play to ruin the inning.
Haren looked good through three innings and in the third he retired the side on a strikeout and two ground ball outs. It appeared as if he was finally going to throw a good game. But that's when everything fell apart. Zimmerman made a bad throw on a routine play to pull first baseman Adam LaRoche off the bag, allowing Placido Polanco to reach safely. That's the third error in the last five games for Zim. The Marlins followed it up with two singles and a 3-run homer by Adeiny Echavarria to put Miami up 4-0 by the time the bottom of the fourth inning was over.
Things got even more embarrassing in the fifth inning, as Roger Bernandina, hitless so far this season, was called out for running outside the basepaths to first base. Since Bernadina was actually running on the grass, not the dirt path, it looked like the correct call to me and an obvious attempt to interfere with a fielding throw.
In the Marlins side of the fifth, Haren's poor pitching continued, as he gave up three singles and then issued his first walk of the season, sending home a run. Johnson lifted Haren after one out in the fifth, so Haren has yet to make it to the 6th inning yet this season.
Craig Stammen entered the game and gave up a 2-run double to Justin Ruggiano, with both runs being charged to Haren. The Nats trailed 7-0 and on a night when their bats were largely silent, that was more than enough.
The Nats broke their shutout in the sixth, with two runs off Miami starter Alex Sanabia. Doubles by Adam LaRoche, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore plated the runs, with LaRoche and Moore both scoring.
The next inning, Henry Rodgriguez let Juan Pierre get on base and then allowed him to steal second and third base. Pierre eventually scored, putting the Marlins up 8-2, the final margin for the game.