Nats' hopes sink further as Marlins rock Gio

August 19th, 2018

WASHINGTON -- A smattering of boos from the crowd of 31,435 descended upon as he walked off the mound in the fifth inning on Sunday afternoon. Against a struggling offense and in a game the Nationals so desperately needed as they cling to their fading postseason dreams, Gonzalez had once again delivered a clunker.
The lefty surrendered eight runs on 10 hits with four walks in 4 2/3 innings in the Nationals' 12-1 loss to the Marlins in the series finale at Nationals Park, one of the worst losses of the year for Washington. They made two errors and misread a few other balls on defense. They were limited to just two hits against Marlins right-hander , who is appealing a six-game suspension from MLB but threw his first career complete game.
"In all honesty, it was an ugly game," manager Dave Martinez said.

Washington fell under .500 on the year with a record of 62-63. Miami had not won a road game in nearly a month, but arrived at Nationals Park and took two of three games this weekend. The Nationals have now lost nine of their past 13 games in this season-defining stretch and trail by seven games in the National League East.
"Today we just went out there and we really didn't have it," said. "Didn't pitch, really. Didn't hit at all. Defensively, didn't do what we needed to do. Top to bottom, it was not a good day for us."
He added: "A good week or two, a sweep of two teams that are ahead of us can get us right back in the ballgame. But we've got to do it now. Last week. A month ago. We've got to get going if we want to play in October."

Gonzalez has been firmly in the center of the team's struggles. After the first two months of the year, he looked poised to contend for a spot on the All-Star team as he entered June with a 2.10 ERA. Gonzalez is unrecognizable from that pitcher now, mixing in a quality outing at random to give the Nationals a taste of his potential, only to deliver outings like Sunday's.
Miami scored three in the third inning after a pair of walks from Gonzalez, highlighted by a two-run double from that misplayed in center field. Then came a five-run fifth inning, which included a two-run double by that drove Gonzalez from the game.
In his past 13 starts, Gonzalez has posted a 7.07 ERA, driving his season ERA up to 4.51. After his last outing, Gonzalez lamented that he is not doing his part as a starter. On Sunday, he stood at his locker searching for answers.
With injuries to their starting rotation all summer, the Nats needed Gonzalez to serve as a steady presence. His ineffectiveness is one of the reasons Washington seems poised to miss the postseason for the first time since 2015.
• Strasburg set to return vs. Phillies on Wednesday
"As a pitcher, you pride yourself on competing and trying to go out there and go the distance," Gonzalez said. "It's just one of those things, if I had the answer to it, we wouldn't be talking about it. But as far as I know, I'm going to continue to do the best I can, work hard, represent the Nationals the right way, and hopefully we can talk about it again in a different situation."
Eaton scaled the wall to make an impressive catch in foul territory in right field to end the first inning, robbing for the final out of the inning.
"I haven't really had too many opportunities to makes plays," Eaton said. "It's been kind of quiet over there. But it's good when the opportunity presents itself to take advantage of it. I think the more you get back in the swing of things, the more the body feels better and kind of getting into the flow of the game. It's only going to get better. I'm still kind of playing catch-up for the year-plus that I missed."

"I think for me and everybody in this clubhouse, I think we should be excited where we are at because if we rattle off and do what we need to do, it gets us hot to go right into the postseason. The next couple weeks are going to be tough, but I think me personally and a lot of guys in this clubhouse are looking forward to it. It's definitely going to be a tough, uphill battle." -- Harper, on trying to rally toward the postseason
"We've had some journeys. We've had some ups and downs. It's just an unfortunate series. This is the one that kind of stings a little bit." -- Gonzalez, on the Nats' recent tough stretch
Following an off-day Monday, the Nationals will welcome the Phillies to Nationals Park for the start of a three-game series beginning Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Washington aligned its rotation so its three best starters could pitch in this series, beginning with on Tuesday against Vince Velasquez for the Phillies. Roark owns a 1.77 ERA in his last five starts.