For the second consecutive game against their division rivals from South Beach, the Nationals were shut out by the Marlins pitching staff, falling 1-0 on Sunday.
After Josh Johnson continued to establish himself as a star pitcher at the expense of the Nats line-up, Marlins rookie hurler Alex Sanabia continued the dominating trend. Sanabia lasted 5.1 innings, allowing no runs on four hits while striking out five and walking two.
Brian Sanches, Jose Veras, Clay Hensley and Leo Nunez combined to shut out the Nationals for the reminder of the game, allowing only four hits total.
The most concerning part of the Nationals offensive brown out is for the second consecutive game, the team put together an 0-for-9 effort with runners in scoring position. Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn did not help the problem, combining for four of the nine failed opportunities.
The good news for the Nationals came from the performance of starter Craig Stammen today. Stammen lasted six innings, surrendering a lone Gaby Sanchez RBI single as part of the six hits he allowed, with six strikeouts and three walks. Sanchez's 5th innings single was the only hit during the entire game either team capitalized with runners in scoring position.
The Nationals now travel to take on the Cincinnati Reds starting tomorrow evening.
Good pitching will always trump good hitting regardless of the teams involved. But, it doesn't help when a team isn't hitting at all. Over the last two shutouts, the Nationals failed to record an extra base hit in any situation. That's 18 consecutive innings without an extra base hit. Can't win playing like that.
Good effort from Stammen today, though. Very encouraging start that has to have people within the Nats organization hopeful that he can remain a valuable piece for this team in the rotation now, but more likely the bullpen when the likes of Scott Olsen, Jordan Zimmerman and Jason Marquis return.