Nothing went right from the start.
The Nationals visited Citizens Bank Park over the weekend, their own personal house of horrors over the years, and not even the best record in baseball could protect them. Shortstop Ian Desmond was scratched from the lineup before Friday's opener even began. Outfielder Michael Morse was hit on the wrist by a pitch in the first inning of the first game and also was lost for the series.
By the end of it, Washington had been swept out of town and never once had a lead in any of the three contests. Hurricane Isaac even forced the Nats to stay in Philadelphia an extra day to think about their ragged play before flying to Miami for what they hope is a better time against the Marlins this week.
|Nationals at Marlins|
|Stephen Strasburg (15-5, 2.85 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (9-12, 5.07 ERA)|
|When » Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.|
|Where » Marlins Park, Miami|
|TV » MASN2|
|Radio » 106.7 the Fan,|
|WFED 1500, WHFS 1580|
|With the pennant race heating up, Washington needs to get healthy fast against the Miami Marlins, who enter this brief two-game series following a season-high 11-game road trip. They actually went a respectable 5-6 against the National League West, though they needed a win in the finale at Los Angeles to snap a four-game losing skid. The Nats last saw right-hander Ricky Nolasco on Aug. 5 when they scored four runs off him in six innings. He also gave up four runs to them July 15 in another loss. Nolasco has allowed four runs or more in seven of his last eight starts.|
The Nats (77-50) have lost four games in a row for just the third time this season. The only time they lost five in a row came in April and the first day of May, when they scuffled at the end of a West Coast road trip in San Diego and Los Angeles and then lost a home game to Arizona. The other four-game losing streak came in June when Washington was swept at home by the New York Yankees and then lost to the Tampa Bay Rays.
But each time they have faced such adversity this season the Nats have rebounded quickly. They reeled off four wins in a row after the five-game losing streak. They teeter-tottered in late June, recovering to take that series from Tampa Bay but enduring a middling 15-16 run that carried into the second half. But before last Wednesday's loss to Atlanta -- the start of their current troubles -- the Nats were on a 24-7 roll.
Miami (58-71) is a different team than in the first half after trading veteran pitcher Anibal Sanchez and star third baseman Hanley Ramirez. But the new Marlins Park hasn't exactly proved hospitable to Washington this season. The Nats were swept there in May and split a four-game series there to start the second half. Overall they are 7-6 against Miami in 2012.