GAME 15 REVIEW: Nats Wear Down Rockies 6-4; Marquis to DL

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, April 22, 2010 | , , , | 0 comments »

As the story goes, when the Washington Nationals get at least five innings from their starting pitcher, they will win the game.  At least, that had been the case for the Nats first seven wins of the season.

Well, you can add an eighth win to that, as John Lannan went six innings, backup catcher Wil Nieves delivered in a big spot, and the Nats eeked out a 6-4 win over the Colorado Rockies, once again pushing their season record over .500 to 8-7.

The game was tied at four in the eighth inning, and the Rockies called on reliever Rafael Betancourt.  He was greeted by a single from Josh Willingham.  After a sacrifice bunt by Willie Harris and an intentional walk to Adam Kennedy, the Nats little-used catcher came up in a big spot--and he delivered big.

Nieves fouled off the first pitch.  But on the second offering from Betancourt, he drilled a shot to deep left-center, plating Willingham easily and moving Kennedy to third.

The popular catcher clapped several times at second and gave his dugout a little fist clench.

Nieves went 2-for-4 for the evening, and is hitting .294 in limited duty this season.

The future Hall of Famer, Ivan Rodriguez, then pinch-hit for Tyler Clippard (W, 3-0, 0.77), and lifted a ball to left field that was deep enough to score Kennedy.

Matt Capps entered and struck out the side, sandwiching in a single and a walk, to record his seventh save of the young season in as many chances.

Lannan was not his sharpest on the cool drizzly evening, but stuck around long enough to keep his team in it.  He went six innings and gave up four earned runs on 11 hits and one walk, striking out two.  He also gave up a home run to left-handed OF Brad Hawpe.

After the game, the Nationals announced that Jason Marquis, signed to a two-year, $15 million contract this past off-season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with "floating bodies" in his pitching elbow.

Marquis has been terrible so far this season, and his last outing on Sunday he failed to record a single out, giving up seven earned runs in the process.

It is likely that Luis Atilano, 2-0 for Triple-A Syracuse, will be recalled for the start on Friday, his normal day to pitch.  What remains to be seen is if Atilano will be a stop-gap or a more permanent replacement.

With Marquis down, Garrett Mock on the DL with a nerve problem in his neck, and Scott Olsen struggling mightily in his last start, the Nats starting rotation is in shambles.  Craig Stammen had a terrific outing last time out, but he's yet to string together more than one good performance.

Lannan has been hit-and-miss so far in his four starts, but keeping his team in games, while Livan Hernandez has been the star of the rotation, throwing 16 innings of scoreless ball thus far.  That can't continue.

Reinforcements can't come soon enough.

The final game of the four-game series with Colorado is Thursday at 4:05.  Livan Hernandez (2-0, 0.00) faces staff ace Ubaldo Jimienez (3-0, 1.29).

NATS NOTES:  Ryan Zimmerman came out of the game after legging out a double in the seventh inning.  He suffered what manager Jim Riggleman termed a cramp in his right hamstring and is day-to-day.  This latest injury doesn't seem to be related to his lef thamstring problem that kept him out of five games last week.

The announced crowd was 11,191, less than Tuesday's previous team record for lowest paid attendance.

Phenom Stephen Strasburg won his game today with Double-A Harrisburg.  He went five innings, giving up no runs on one hit and one walk, striking out six.

Photos by A. Amobi/Nats News Network, All Rights Reserved unless otherwise attributed.