Washington Nationals starter Jason Marquis did his job on Saturday night. Pinch hitter Rick Ankiel came to play as did shortstop Ian Desmond and Michael Morse, but it seemed the rest of the Nationals were ready for the All-Star Break and hitting the links. Washington dropped its second game in a row to the Colorado Rockies by one run by the score of 2-1.
Marquis was not overly sharp, but his performance warrants some positive reviews considering his last start he barely went one inning giving up six earned runs. On Saturday night he showed improvement giving up only two runs on five hits in six-innings of work. He walked four batters and struck out win. Again, not a shiny outing, but one that the Nationals could have more than worked with. The Rockies Todd Helton took Marquis yard in the fourth-inning for the 10th home run of his season while Mark Ellis scored on a Helton ground out in the fifth, but that was all the Rockies could do against the Nationals intense right hander.
However-- the Nationals offense. Problems continue to plague the Nationals offense and show its inconsistency. Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez took a no-hitter into the fifth before Morse made contact and recorded the Nationals first hit of the game. The only score of the game came when Ankiel pinch hit for the pitcher and grounded out scoring Desmond. Desmond had a good game going 2-for-3 while Morse went 2-for-4. Outfielder Laynce Nix also enjoyed a great defensive night in the field making a brilliant catch and making a double play.
A dark cloud is hanging over right fielder Jayson Werth. The fates always seem to put him in position to break out of his slump if he could get a big hit, but it never seems to come. Saturday was no different as the tying run was on third in the bottom of the ninth-inning with one out and he hit into a double play to end the game. Boos and chants of "Jayson Werthless" filled Nationals Park and drowned out some post-game interviews.
The Nationals are now 45-46 and look to, at best, finish the first half of the season at .500 if they can win on Sunday.