Brad Hand came up for a cup of coffee to fill in for a rain makeup game. His outing was, unfortunately awful. In is 3 2/3 inning appearance, he threw 96 pitches, walking six batters. He gave up seven earned runs on six hits. The Marlins were hoping he would be able to go at least six innings to help the bullpen get through the doubleheader. Needless to say, he’s back in New Orleans today. In relief, Ryan Webb and Chris Hatcher kept the Nationals from scoring for the rest of the game, but the damage was done. The Marlins fell, 7-4.
Despite the awful start, the Marlins scored four runs, with extra base hits logged by Jose Reyes, Donnie Murphy, and Brett Hayes. Reyes’ hit streak was extended to 21 games with his bunt single in the first inning.
The second game last night was a horse of a different color. Josh Johnson had a terrific outing, going to all but the last out of the game. Striking out nine in 8 2/3 innings, he gave up two runs, only one of which was scored as an earned run. Out of the 115 pitches he threw, 77 were in for strikes. The bite on his curveball and slider was better than usual, and his fastball location was spot-on.
Jose Reyes added game #22 to his streak with 3 hits and two runs scored across five at-bats. The Nationals were held to just five hits in a 5-2 Marlins win.
A struggling Mark Buehrle faces Jordan Zimmermann tonight for the third of the four-game series. Buehrle hasn’t gotten to the fifth inning in his last three starts, and is due to regain his pinpoint command. However, despite minor shoulder inflammation that delayed his start by a day, Zimmermann has been on an tear. He brings a Major League-leading 0.97 ERA to the park tonight. I suspect Reyes will need a little luck to extend to #23.
Prediction: Nationals take the win, and the Marlins don’t post three runs.