"I don't like to get beat. It wasn't any fun today." Davey Johnson, after a 10-2 loss to the Pirates
|Jason Marquis' day lasted just four outs -- and seven runs. (C.Nichols/Nats News Network)|
At a point earlier this season, Washington Nationals starter Jason Marquis was gaining support locally to garner the nod to represent the Nats at this summer's All-Star festivities. Moments before today's game, however, it was learned that distinction belongs to reliever Tyler Clippard, selected by manager Bruce Bochy to his first All-Star appearance.
Marquis then went out and had a performance that looked more like his miserable, injury-riddled 2010 season than anything he's done so far this year, giving up seven runs before being lifted with one out in the second inning. The Nationals never recovered and lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-2, splitting a four-game series.
The loss drops the Nats back to one game below .500 at 42-43. They are a game and a half behind the New York Mets for third in the N.L. East. Though the Nats earned the split with the Bucs, they went just 5-for-34 with runners in scoring position for the series, 0-for-9 in Sunday's game.
Marquis was, in a word, brutal. Pirates leadoff hitter Alex Presley singled to start the game, and Marquis (L, 7-3, 4.11) got the next batter, shortstop Chase d'Arnaud, to bounce back to hit for a tailor-made double play. But Marquis' throw to Danny Espinosa was low and scooted into center field, allowing Presley to go to third. Marquis coaxed a pop-up from Garrett Jones, but then allowed three consecutive singles to score three runs.
It got worse in the second inning. Pitcher Kevin Correia smashed a single down the left field line leading off. Presley then hit a grounder to first baseman Matt Stairs, and Stairs -- filling in for Michael Morse, who was hit on the forearm in Satruday night's win -- was able to get the lead runner, but the relay throw was late to complete the double play. d'Arnaud singled to left, moving Presley to third, then consecutive doubles to Jones and Andrew McCutchen made it 5-0, bringing an end to Marquis' day.
Collin Balester entered, and the first two batters reached against him, raising the Pirates lead to 8-0 after 1 1/2 innings.
Balester would settle down though and ended up giving the Nats four important innings, saving most of Davey Johnson's bullpen for the next game. Balester was charged with two more runs in the sixth after he departed, as Henry Rodriguez came on with one out and two on in the frame and allowed both inherited runners to score, including walking the Pirates No. 8 hitter to force in a run. Yup, it was that kind of day for the Nats.
|Collin Balester gave the Nats four much-needed innings. (C.Nichols/Nats News Network)|
When asked about his performance, Marquis said, "Obviously, not good. I left too many balls in the zone. I didn't have the good late action on my ball. It was just one of those days, you know?"
The only thing to really cheer about at Nats Park today was Wilson Ramos' seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot off Pirates starter Kevin Correia (11-6, 3.74). Otherwise, it was a long, hot, frustrating day for Nats fans.
The Nats got more injury bad news, as right fielder Jayson Werth was hit by a pitch on the outside of his left wrist area in the sixth inning. He reacted very angrily when hit, slamming his bat down before taking his base. Manager Davey Johnson lifted him for a pinch-runner and after the game Johnson announced that Werth was day-to-day, but would probably give him the day off Monday against the Cubs.
|Jayson Werth heads for the dugout after getting his on his left wrist. (C.Nichols/Nats News Network)|
THE GOOD: Ramos went 2-for-4 with the two-run homer. Roger Bernadina went 2-for-5. Ryan Zimmerman went 1-for-2 with two walks. It's not like the Nats didn't have any base runners Sunday.
THE BAD: Ian Desmond. He went 0-for-4 with two Ks.
THE UGLY: Marquis. He left everything up and just got tattooed. Hopefully this is just a blip on the radar. If he falls apart in the second half of the season, it'll be damaging not only to the Nats record, but to their ability to trade the pending free agent for anything of real value. Remember, he will not qualify as a Type-A or Type-B free agent, so if he walks at the end of the year the Nats will get no compensation for him.
THE STATS: Nine hits, two walks, nine strikeouts. 0-for-9 with RISP, 10 LOB, zero GIDP. E: Marquis (1), Desmond (12).
NEXT GAME: Monday, July 4 at 1:05 pm against the Chicago Cubs. Jordan Zimmermann (5-7, 2.63) faces Casey Coleman (2-4, 7.78).
|The Shark ate up a sinking line drive in left field. (C.Nichols/Nats News Network)|