WP: A.J. Burnett (8-6)
LP: John Patterson (4-3)
S: Todd Jones (20)
WAS: 55-49 (2nd in NL East, 5 behind Atlanta, 0.5 ahead of Florida and Philadelphia)
Something about Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca being in scoring position seemed to force Nationals pitcher John Patterson to toss pitches past his catcher.
Patterson worked a quality start, going six innings and giving up just two runs on five hits, but the two runs were both scored on wild pitches that scored Paul Lo Duca, once in the second inning and once in the sixth.
Patterson was outdone by A.J. Burnett, who has been the focus of much trade speculation, threw seven shutout innings, giving up four hits and striking out eight.
The Nationals dream run has turned into a nightmare, as a shutout loss yesterday dropped them to five games behind Atlanta in the National League East, and the team is now in serious danger of falling all the way to fourth place.
The loss to the Marlins brought the Fish within half a game of the Nats, and the Phillies are also only a half game behind. If they lose to the Marlins today, they will definitely be in third place, and would be in fourth if Philadelphia beats Colorado.
The Nats will attempt to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Marlins today at 1:05 p.m. in Florida. They will send ace Livan Hernandez (12-4, 3.32 ERA, throws right) to face Brian Moehler (6-7, 3.56 ERA, throws right).
It has gone from bad to worse for the Nationals, who are in serious danger of being swept by a second straight NL East opponent, which could drop them to fourth place. Just two days after General Manager Jim Bowden said that the current players are the guys that the Nationals will be "going to war with," it is looking more and more like the Nats won't be involved in any war at all.
The frustrating part is that the pitching has been good, but the bats just continue to be useless. The team heads home after this series to take on two NL West opponents, the Dodgers and Padres, but they really can't afford to take another loss to an NL East opponent. If they can salvage one win in this series then go dominate the Rockies, they may still be in the thick of things into the month of August.