Marlins' Offensive Assault
Well, this came out of nowhere. The Miami Malrins surprised Dan Haren, the Washington Nationals, and the team's own fans with an absolute offensive assault on the night. Haren, who had struggled in his first two outings for the Nationals, was looking vulnerable, especially to the home run, thus far in 2013. This prompted me to say the following in the preview on the game thread:
Hopefully I can catch tonight's game, as Haren may be a prime target for the Marlins' bats to maybe wake up and do something.
As Fish Stripes regular Jeremy Hulme later pointed out:
I take full credit for predicting the offensive burst by the Fish, who were quiet for the first three innings and then jumped on Haren in the fourth. In the first three innings, the Marlins recorded one hit, a Juan Pierre single, followed by outs the entire way. This signaled that this may be a typical Marlins' offensive night. In fact, Fish Stripes regular dcfish mentioned this as much.
To which I responded:
Of course, less than 20 minutes later, Adeiny Hechavarria hit a three-run home run that went to deep left field and broke open a 1-0 lead. The Fish had started off the fourth inning with a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, his uncharacteristic fourth error in five games. Placido Polanco reached base on the error and was followed by a Greg Dobbs single that moved him to third base. Justin Ruggiano followed with a single to left field that put the Fish up and left runners at the corners for one of the team's few remaining passable hitters, Rob Brantly.
It turns out that a Brantly out was needed to get to the true threat, Hechavarria. The young shortstop launched a ball to left field that finally reactivated the Monstrosity in center field and got Marlins color commentator to yell out "Get it ready! Get it ready!" in a way that can only be described as "childishly excited." Hechavarria's swing was beautiful, Dan Haren's pitch was awful, and the Marlins jumped to a 4-0 lead.
But the Fish were not done, as they tacked on three more runs in the fifth inning. The Fish led things off with an Alex Sanabia single and eventually loaded the bases with one out for Greg Dobbs. Haren walked in the run, then gave up a double to Ruggiano to finish his evening off. The Marlins eventually sent nine hitters to the plate that inning, ironically ending it with a Hechavarria double play. By then, the Fish had taken a commanding 7-0 lead and entered cruise control for the night.
Sanabia Acceptable in Start
Sanabia was not great in his performance, but he did not need to be to beat the Nationals tonight. With the Fish provided plenty of offense, Sanabia did not have to strand as many runners as he could without a strong strikeout presence, but he did so anyway, allowing just two of nine baserunners to come home in six innings.
To his credit, Sanabia did more than enough to induce strikeouts against the Nationals. He caused 10 swings and misses in 93 pitches, which is actually very similar to what he was doing in his previous starts this season. The problem was that he misplaced a number of his changeups en route to a slightly below-average 2.1 balls-to-called-strike ratio. The Fish could use a better performance on him getting strikes and placing the ball in the zone, but Sanabia's swinging strike rate was impressive enough to compensate for that and add up to an acceptable, if a little middling, performance.