The night started off with intriguing news even before the game started, when it was reported that Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter are amongst the bidders to purchase the Marlins. Perhaps this pre-game excitement could extend to the game itself? Perhaps the future AND present would be looking up for the Fish? Eh, not so much.
Starting for the Nationals was one of 2016’s most underrated pitchers, Tanner Roark, who just pitched for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Meanwhile, the Marlins were looking to Dan Straily to impress in his regular season debut.
As on Opening Day, things looked good early on. Roark was not sharp and in the first inning the Marlins got to him. After a hit by Christian Yelich and two walks, the bases were loaded with two outs. A clutch line-drive single up the middle by Marcell Ozuna plated two to give the Fish an early 2-0 lead.
After the stellar debut by Edinson Volquez on opening day, hopes were high for Straily’s start. Through the first three, Straily looked strong, using the good movement and location of his low-90s fastball to hold the Nats to only a run on an opposite field solo homer by Ryan Zimmerman.
On Straily’s second time through the lineup, the Nationals got to him. In the fourth, a lead off walk to Adam Eaton was followed by a battle with Nationals star, Bryce Harper. Twice the Marlins almost caught pop ups in foul territory, but to no avail. On the 8th pitch of the at bat, Harper lined an high-inside fastball down the right field line for a double, scoring Eaton. Daniel Murphy then singled home a hustling Harper to give Washington at 3-2 lead.
Then the wheels fell off. A seeing-eye pop up landed between Gordon and Yelich; then, with two strikes, a make-contact swing by Matt Weiters led to a ball that snuck through the infield to plate two more to chase Straily. Dustin McGowan came in to clean up the mess, and got out of the inning with no further damage.
Straily’s final line was a disappointing 3 1/3 IP, 6H, 5ER, 2BB, 0K. Not what fans were hoping for.
In contrast, Roark settled in and cruised through six innings, giving up just the two early runs.
The Marlins tacked on a run on a Realmuto homer in the eighth and a Realmuto RBI dunker in the ninth. Yelich came to the plate representing the tying run, but struck out to end the game.
The inability of the Marlins to add to an early lead, and then allow the Nationals to roar back to overtake them was the same script from the opening day loss. The Marlins fall to 0-2 and turn to Tom Koehler to outduel Gio Gonzales tomorrow at 4 pm to avoid a series sweep.
Under the Sea:
- Don Mattingly was ejected after the third HBP by Nationals pitching (two were against an understandably perturbed Derek Deitrich).
- J.T. Realmuto hit the first home run of the season for the Marlins.
- The Marlins bullpen did well, giving up only 1 run in 5 2⁄3 innings.
- Dee Gordon flailed at the plate, striking out three times before getting a single in the ninth.
Hero of the Game:
For the Marlins, J.T. Realmuto continued his hot hitting with a homer and 2 RBIs; caught Harper stealing; and picked Jayson Werth off of second base.
Has to be Straily, who was less than impressive.
The big double by Harper which swung the game towards DC.