Tonight would mark the second major league start of Dillon Peters. His debut could have hardly gone better, having fired seven shutout innings while fanning eight. Peters would need a similar start tonight, given the Marlins paltry offensive output of late.
The opponent at Marlins Park was the Nationals, who were looking for a sweep of the three game set. They would be a challenging lineup for Peters, and on top of that, Washington would start perhaps its most underrated starter, Gio Gonzalez, who entered the contest with a 2.58 ERA.
Peters got off on the wrong foot. In the first inning, a single by Ryan Zimmerman would drive in Trea Turner for the first run given up by Peters as a major leaguer. The next batter, Howie Kendrick, hit a hard double past the third base bag to score Zimmerman from first to put the Nationals up 2-0 early on.
The second inning also started off well for the Nationals, with back to back singles by Michael Taylor and José Lobatón. J.T. Realmuto proceeded to catch Taylor trying to steal third, and then picked Lobatón off of second to knock those two off the base paths and end the threat. If you haven’t been impressed by Realtmuto’s defense so far this season, this is the kind of show you’ve been missing. Fantastic!
Realmuto’s defense, however, was not enough to keep the Nats down forever. In the top of the fourth, Zimmerman struck again with a 427-foot blast to the upper deck in right-center field off of Peters to give the Nats a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, the Marlins started a rally of their own, with a leadoff walk to Giancarlo Stanton followed by a liner to right field by Christian Yelich. Then, Marcel Ozuna would walk to load the bases with no outs. Realmuto ran the count to 3-2 before lining a ball right to the shortstop. Gonzalez would then strike out Tyler Moore on a change up, and get Brian Anderson looking on a 3-2 fast ball to blank the Marlins.
Peters exited after five innings, having given up three earned runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out six; a solid effort, particularly if you could have magically made Ryan Zimmerman disappear from the lineup. One would have to chalk this up as a learning experience, particularly when it comes to facing elite right-handed bats.
In the bottom of the fifth, a single by Ichiro followed by a Dee Gordon bunt single put two on with one out and Stanton at the plate. However, there’s a reason Gio Gonzalez has the lowest batting average against, and he certainly was clutch tonight in big spots for the Nationals.. Gonzales used his changeup to induce a double play from Stanton to escape another jam.
Vance Worley came in to relieve Peters, and to no one’s surprise, gave up three runs in the sixth, while Junichi Tazawa gave up a solo bomb to Taylor in the eighth to put the game out of reach for the Fish.
The Marlins would avoid a shutout on an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Miguel Rojas in the ninth, but that was little solace as the Fish fell 8-1.
Miami continued to struggle offensively, mustering only six hits. Don Mattingly’s squad scored only four runs in the three game sweep, and are now 67-72 for the season, with any hopes of a wild card spot out the window.
With Hurricane Irma coming closer to Florida, mercifully the Marlins go on the road for the next week and a half, starting tomorrow night in Atlanta. Their thoughts and ours will surely be with the people of Florida over the upcoming days. On a positive note, Marlins ownership is allowing the team’s family and pets on the flight out of Miami to Atlanta to help ensure their safety.
Turning Point: The Nats come out swinging in the first against Dillon Peters
King Fish: Zimmerman went 3-for-5 with a homer for the Nationals
Flounder: Brian Anderson struck out looking twice to stall two rallies for the Fish