Even with the magnificent offensive performances we’ve seen as of late, expecting the Marlins pull something like that off against the NL strikeout leader was a bit much to ask. You couple that with an off-night from Jose Urena from a command perspective and we had a recipe for disaster that manifested itself in an 11-2 thrashing.
It was clear from the start that Ureña was having trouble locating his off-speed pitches. Of course, things like this didn’t help either:
Daniel Murphy would use that call (and Ureña leaving him alone) to steal second and reach third on a passed ball. He’d then score the first of many Nationals runs following an Anthony Rendon single. It set the tone for what would be an ugly night for Marlins pitchers in general.
Max Scherzer looked a little wild himself early on. After Marcell Ozuna reached via a single, Scherzer tagged the HBP King Derek Dietrich on his patented elbow guard and almost doing the same to Tomas Telis. Scherzer survived his couple baserunners allowed by inducing Telis into a double-play to end the threat.
Jayson Werth got a nice ovation from the Nationals crowd when he stepped up to the plate in the second inning. Werth was returning from a long stint on the disabled list that saw him miss 75 games due to a broken bone in his foot he sustained when he fouled a pitch off of it. He ended up with a two hit night, including a two run blast in the fourth off of Ureña. He is a nice addition to an already dangerous lineup, and should help serve as a reminder of the boost the Marlins will themselves receive when Justin Bour returns from his own DL stint.
Christian Yelich had a nice opposite field home run off of Scherzer in the fourth inning, his 16th of the year. Marcell Ozuna would rack up three hits on the night to continue his stellar 2017 campaign, and Dee Gordon had another couple, but the remainder of the lineup was fairly quiet.
Ureña’s final line was four innings pitched, four runs off of five hits, three walks and four punchouts. It was his worst start since July 15th, but it’s hard to fault Ureña much when he’s been so steady and reliable in a year where the Marlins desperately needed a starting pitcher to be just that. Unless you’re Max Scherzer, sometimes, you’re going to throw a dud.
The wheels came off entirely for the Fish in the sixth inning, when the normally stout Dustin McGowan gave up four runs and the predictably pliant Justin Nicolino followed that with three of his own. In the end, the Nationals had efficiently piled up 11 runs on 13 hits, while the Marlins could only muster two runs off of the eight total that they tallied.
The Marlins will pick themselves up off the ground and give it a go again in game two as Vance Worley takes on old friend Edwin Jackson, 7:05 eastern start time.
King Fish: Max Scherzer (.210)
Flounder: José Ureña (-.226)
Play of the game: Werth two run shot in the fourth (.143)