Times have been tough on the Washington Nationals recently. Since the All-Star Break the Nationals have dropped four straight series. On Wednesday night the Florida Marlins took no pity on them and savagely beat them 7-5 in front of a home crowd at Nationals Park that probably is feeling the excitement of the 2011 baseball season quickly draining away. It is the fifth series Washington has dropped and it is the fourth game in a row the Nats have lost.
The major breakdown continues to be the offense who surprisingly got hits off Florida's Javier Vazquez and the Marlins pitching staff, but could do anything but drive in runs. The Nationals left a total of 18 men on base. The only Nationals player to touch home plate before the ninth inning Wednesday night was outfielder Laynce Nix who drilled a solo homerun in the fourth inning. After that the usual offensive problems began to plague Washington and the line-up and scoreboard went cold until the ninth where the Nats staged a four run rally thanks to a single from Jerry Hairston Jr., a ground-rule double from Ryan Zimmerman and a two RBI single from Michael Morse. Unfortunately the rally fell just short.
Before the fans' eyes the Nationals pitching corps is withering. Starting pitching and bullpen had not been the same since a little before the midseason break and their problems continued on Wednesday night. Starter Livan Hernandez was tagged for the loss after a four inning four runs on five hit performance. Hernandez's ERA continues to rise as it jumped from a 4.04 to a 4.19. Relievers Todd Coffey and Drew Storen both gave up homeruns to Mike Cameron who had two on the night and finished with three RBIs.
The Nationals fall to 49-54.