Nats Bulletin: Bullpen fails as Nationals lose 4-2 to the Marlins

Behind a strong outing from starting pitcher Craig Stammen the Nationals were able to grab a 2-1 lead at the end of the sixth. It was short lived.
Jorge Cantu, who had been held hitless in his previous 19 at bats, launched a one-out homer to deep left centerfield to tie the game at two-two. Enter Brian Bruney in the 8th and the wheels fell off as the one time closer-hopeful simply could not throw strikes. The hard throwing righty put runners on base who eventually scored off of a single and a sac-fly to give the Marlins a final 4-2 lead.
Stammen rendered no decision despite pitching 6.2 innings of dominating baseball. The Marlins only mustered four hits and drew no walks while scoring one earned run (a homer), and one unearned. Stammen also struck out eight batters, a career-high for the 26-year-old. He was succesful by keeping Marlins batters off balance with a strong slider/curveball combination.
Ryan Zimmerman went 2-4 on the night as the club only managed to muster two runs on six hits and two walks. Ivan Rodriguez went 0-4 for the first time of the season tonight in the Nationals loss.
“After a thrilling come-from-behind win last night, the Washington Nationals opened up their three-game set with the Florida Marlins in the loss column, defeated 4-2, before 20,161 at Nationals Park. Despite a solid night by Washington starter Craig Stammen, his bullpen mates could not hold off their opponents. With the score tied at two in the eighth inning, Brian Bruney – who had come into the game in relief of Stammen in the seventh – continued a string of erratic and uneven performances.”

“With the game tied at two at the start of the seventh inning, the Nationals gave the ball to Brian Bruney, who they acquired as a setup man and possible closer in the offseason but whose control problems have bumped him several rungs down the bullpen hierarchy. Bruney did what he’s done too many times this year; walk hitters. His three walks, plus two hits, in 1 1/3 innings led to the Marlins taking the lead for good and the Nationals falling back within a game of .500.”

Washington Nationals lose late to Florida Marlins as Brian Bruney Struggles – Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

“Stammen was on a roll, until he wasn’t. He hung a 1-2 curveball to Jorge Cantu, a pitch Stammen chose because he had struck out Cantu swinging at one earlier. Even as Cantu swung, Stammen pounded his thighs with his fists. He knew. Cantu unloaded and crunched a home run over the left-center field wall. Stammen didn’t survive the inning after a triple by Cody Ross.”

Cantu breaks out of slump with solo shot, two RBI in opener – Joe Frisaro, MLB.com

“The Marlins were able to make the most out of seven hits and provide enough cushion for Chris Volstad (3-2) to beat the Nationals for the second time in five days. The 23-year-old right-hander was solid, giving up two runs on four hits in seven innings.

Jorge Cantu provided a home run and sacrifice fly, on a night he broke out of an 0-for-19 slide.

“I thought Volstad was the player of the game,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He got stronger as the game went on. He did a terrific job.”

Marlins end three-game skid with win over Nats – AP

Ryan Zimmerman ripped Volstad’s 2-1 changeup into the center field stands with one out in the fifth. The solo shot, his fifth homer, made him 8 for 15 with two home runs in his career against the right-hander.

Cantu responded with his seventh homer, a line shot to left-center with one out in the seventh that snapped an 0-for-19 slump, and the Marlins knocked Nationals starter Craig Stammen from the game two batters later when Baker tripled.”

Still Searching for Another Reliever – Nats Insider, Mark Zuckerman

“The Nats are getting pretty good starting pitching. They’re getting just enough offense. They’re playing solid defense. And they’ve got two fantastic relievers. The biggest hole on the roster right now is another setup man. Just one more reliable reliever would make a huge difference.”

Volstad Leads Marlins past Nationals – Sun Sentinel, Ted Hutton

“Volstad gave up a run in the first, but it could have been worse, as two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out.

His next mistake did not come until the bottom of the sixth, when Ryan Zimmerman put a ball into the seats in left center. It was the Nationals sixth hit, and made it 2-1.”

Washington Nationals drop 4-2 decision to unbeatable Florida Marlins, – Federal Baseball, Patrick Reddington

“Marlins’ right-hander Chris Volstad, who held the Nationals to 1 run on 4 hits in a complete game win over the Nats when Washington was in Florida last week, needs just 87 pitches to get through 7.0 innings tonight, during which he gives up 4 hits, 2 walks and 2 ER including Ryan Zimmerman’s HR. After the game I asked Nats’ skipper Jim Riggleman if the Nationals swinging early in the count was part of the Nats’ gameplan against the 23-year-old Marlins’ right-hander: “