Washington Nationals (1-2, 4th NLE) v. Florida Marlins (1-2, 4th NLE)
7:10 pm, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
Weather: Scattered storms. 80 degrees.
The second series of the season starts tonight (weather permitting) in south Florida, as the Nats try to get their bats going against a Marlins pitching staff that usually has their numbers. The Nationals enter the series hitting just .209 for the season, scoring just eight runs in three games.
If the Nats are to get things going tonight, they'll do so with out the services of their young and talented middle infield duo, as manager Jim Riggleman has decided to give a pre-arranged day off to SS Ian Desmond and 2B Danny Espinosa, subbing them with veteran backups Jerry Hairston and Alex Cora.
Riggleman sends Jason Marquis out for his first start of the season. Coming off a lost season of injury and ineffectiveness, the veteran hopes to kick-start his 2011 with a strong performance he can carry with him as the season goes along. Marquis will have to be counted on to give the Nats dependable innings every time out, something he was not capable of last season.
Marquis, who made at least 28 starts in each of his previous six seasons, started 13 games in 2010 and posted the worst ERA of his career. The 12-year veteran was incredibly inconsistent, going 0-6 with a 17.28 ERA in six outings and 2-3 with a 2.36 ERA in the other seven.
Which pitcher he is in 2011 will go a long way in determining if the Nats have any hope of escaping the basement of the N.L. East this season.
NATIONALS: Hairston-4, Werth-9, Zimmerman-5, LaRoche-3, Morse-7, Ankiel-8, Ramos-2, Cora -6, Marquis-1
MARLINS: Coghlan-8, Infante-4, H.Ramirez-6, G.Sanchez-3, Morrison-7, Buck-2, Murphy-5, Bonifacio-9, A.Sanchez-1