Marlins shut out to end series in Washington
Held to four hits, Marlins can't overcome Koehler's shaky start vs. Nats
WASHINGTON -- The Marlins have lost 83 games this season. The most recent defeat, a 9-0 loss to the Nationals on Thursday night, left manager Mike Redmond grasping for positives.
After Miami was shut out and swept out of Nationals Park for the second time this season, the Marlins' first-year manager sat quietly in his office in the visitor's clubhouse. He ran his hand through the wisps of brown hair on his head. He, like his team, looked defeated and out of answers.
"We didn't pitch well tonight, we didn't hit and we got beat," Redmond said. "The saving grace is that we haven't played a lot of these games this year. We've been in most of the games, and we've only had a couple where we just got beat. Tonight was one of those nights. We just got beat."
In the first two games of the series, the Marlins were victims of one missed opportunity, one defensive gem or one big hit. But in getting shut out for a Major League-leading 16th time this season, there was no one reason for the loss.
Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond all homered for the Nationals. The Marlins, meanwhile, recorded just four hits, including one in the final five innings. Only one Marlins baserunner reached third base.
"It seems like right now where we're at is every time we get an opportunity to score, it's with two outs and we're waiting on a two-out knock that never comes," Redmond said. "But then again, we've had several opportunities where we've had bases loaded with nobody out, and the bottom line is that we're just not getting the job done."
Over the three-game sweep, the Marlins hit for a combined .182 average, with four runs, 18 hits and 26 strikeouts.
"We hit a couple of good balls right at people, no luck, and that's the way the game goes, you know?" Placido Polanco said. "If one of those line drives we hit would have dropped, maybe it's a closer game. You never know."
The Marlins have been able to lean on their pitching staff all season, but Tom Koehler struggled on Thursday. After breezing through the first three innings, Koehler walked Ryan Zimmerman to lead off the fourth. Harper homered over the left-field wall on the next pitch, and Miami was suddenly in a 2-0 hole.
Things only got worse for Miami in the sixth. Zimmerman singled, Harper walked and Werth cleared the bases with a three-run homer to left. The Nationals' cleanup hitter paused to admire the ball as it left the park.
"I hung a slider. He crushed it. Simple as that," said Koehler, who allowed six earned runs and walked four batters in five-plus innings. "It's really unfortunate and I'm really disappointed that I couldn't go out there and keep the team in the game for a lot longer."
Werth's homer put the Marlins in a five-run hole. And for a team that hasn't scored five runs in a game since Aug. 19, that deficit was too much to overcome.
Koehler made way for Sam Dyson, who was called up from Triple-A New Orleans before the game. In his first two Major League appearances with the Blue Jays last season, he allowed three runs and recorded two outs. In his Marlins debut Thursday, Dyson allowed three more runs over two innings.
Dyson gave up three consecutive singles in the seventh inning to bring one Nationals baserunner home. Then Desmond hit a towering ball to left field that barely reached the seats, Washington's third home run of the night.
"These guys are swinging the bats great. It's the best we've seen them all year," Redmond said. "They've got some guys red-hot, as you can see. They have the ability to put the ball in the seats."
Redmond's own offense, meanwhile, has started to drive him ...
"Crazy might be an understatement," the manager said.
"You look around and we've got a very talented team," Polanco said. "The same way one play changes the whole game, one game can change the whole season. We know we're good, we just got to get a couple hits together."
The Marlins are only three games into a nine-game road trip, which won't get any easier on Friday. Less than 24 hours after their sweep in Washington, Miami will begin a three-game set in Atlanta, though the club will have Jose Fernandez on the mound in the opener.
"I know what those guys are going through out there. It's tough," Redmond said. "Nobody likes to struggle, especially collectively as a team, as an offense. But at the same time too, there's only one way to get through it, and that's to go out and keep grinding and keep battling. Somebody's got to step up, somebody's got to say, 'Man, I'm tired of this. I'm tired of getting out. I'm tired of losing. Let's go. It ends tonight.' And hopefully that'll be [Friday] night in Atlanta."