The Washington Nationals dropped Tuesday night's game against the Florida Marlins 3-2 in heartbreaking ninth inning walk-off style and ended their hopes of finishing with a winning record for the first time since baseball returned to Washington D.C. in 2005.
With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, it was up to reliever Doug Slaten to get the outs to put the game into extra innings. He got the first two outs. He would not get a chance to make a third. With two outs Bryan Petersen took a Slaten first pitch fastball and deposited it into the Sun Life Stadium seats for a Marlins 3-2 walk-off win. It was yet another poor showing for Slaten who is 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA.
Nationals outfielder Michael Morse hit his 31st home run of the season and shortstop Ian Desmond collected a RBI single in the loss. Nationals starter John Lannan's final start of 2011 ended with him pitching six innings and giving up two runs on six hits, three walks and four strike outs. Lannan finishes the season 10-13 with a 3.73 ERA.
The Nationals are now 79-81 with one game left to play. Due to bad weather and cancellations, Washington is playing only 161 games this year, the best they can finish now is 80-81.
The Washington Nationals are looking to get to .500 with a win Tuesday night, the Florida Marlins are looking to play the part of spoiler in that regard and both teams have struck to put each put a numbers on the board. The Nats lead the Marlins 2-1 in the sixth
The Marlins gained first blood in the bottom of the third inning after Nationals starter John Lannan gave up a sacrifice fly to former National Emilio Bonifacio which scored Matt Dominguez. However, the Nationals answered back in the top of the fifth when outfielder Michael Morse hit his team leading 31st home run of the season, his second in two nights against the Fish. Then in the top of the sixth shortstop Ian Desmond was able to cash in Steve Lombardozzi on a RBI single to give the Nats the 2-1 lead.
Lannan has gone five innings giving up one run on two hits. He has walked two and struck out three.
On the one hand, there’s little reason to ask Ryan Zimmerman to play in the final two games of the Washington Nationals’ 2011 season while dealing with soreness in his hamstring. The Nats, of course, have long since been eliminated from playoff contention. On the other hand, it’s not as if Zimmerman would be risking long-term injury necessarily or jeopardizing his chances to be productive in 2012 by playing in the season finale Wednesday.
He’s already been scratched from Tuesday night’s game against Florida, and might not suit up again this season. My guess is that he’ll play on Wednesday if the Nationals win on Tuesday. The club is hot, having won 10 straight on the road, and with wins in their final two, Washington would finish above .500. Definitely something worth playing for.
Davey Johnson sounds like he’s open-minded about Wednesday, but would prefer to err on the side of caution with his third baseman.
“A pulled hamstring, it’s something that stays with you,” Johnson said. “What’s the stakes? I’d like to see him play. Obviously, he gives us a better chance. But it’s not worth the risk.”
Zimmerman isn’t ruling out playing though in the finale.
“If I feel good tomorrow, I’d like to play the last game,” Zimmerman said.
For the season, Zimmerman is batting .289/.355/.443 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs in 440 plate appearances. He missed significant time in April, May and June recovering from an abdominal muscle injury.
First pitch between the Nationals and Marlins Tuesday night is scheduled for 7:10 pm EST in South Florida.