Instant Analysis: Marlins 8, Nats 0

Instant Analysis: Marlins 8, Nats 0
September 9, 2012, 8:46 pm
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Game in a nutshell: What is it about the Marlins that brings out the worst in the Nationals? It's a mystery. So is Ricky Nolasco, who entered today's game with a 4.64 ERA but tossed a 2-hit shutout to again beat the Nats (he went the distance against them on Aug. 28, and if you go back to his previous start before that, the Nats now haven't scored a run in their last 22 innings against the right-hander. Miami's lineup, meanwhile, feasted on Edwin Jackson for six runs in 4 23 innings, though two of the runs scored when Bryce Harper lost a flyball in the sun. That's pretty much the kind of afternoon it was for the Nationals, who finished the season 9-9 against the Marlins but 77-45 against everyone else in the majors. They still closed out quite an impressive homestand, going 8-3 against the Cardinals, Cubs and Fish.

Hitting lowlight: Davey Johnson gave two of his regulars (Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond) the day off, but given the way this lineup produced throughout the homestand, you'd think they were still capable of putting together a couple of rallies. Not with Nolasco on the mound. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth until Michael Morse sent a solid single to left. He faced the minimum into the seventh, until Greg Dobbs committed an error at third base. And he carried a one-hitter into the eighth, until Giancarlo Stanton lost a flyball in the sun. That was the extent of the Nationals' offense in this game.

Pitching lowlight: Starting on his 29th birthday, Jackson gave up six runs over 4 23 innings. It wasn't entirely his fault -- the Marlins picked up three straight, two-out, groundball singles up the middle in the top of the second, and then Harper lost that ball in the sun -- but the right-hander didn't help his own cause, either. He walked Donovan Solano to lead off the fourth inning, setting the stage for a two-run rally. And he gave up a leadoff single (followed by a stolen base) in the fifth to set up another run. Jackson surely has had worse outings than this, but he's had much better ones, too.

Key stat: In 20 career games at Nationals Park, Stanton is hitting .392 with 11 homers, 20 RBI, a .456 on-base percentage, a .924 slugging percentage and a 1.380 OPS.

Up next: The Nationals hit the road for a six-game trip through New York and Atlanta. They'll open at Citi Field on Monday, with Gio Gonzalez facing Mets rookie right-hander Collin McHugh at 7:10 p.m.