The Washington Nationals attempt at four-straight wins, and a tie for first place in the division, was stymied by Chris Volstad and the Florida Marlins lineup. Combining for only five base runners on the night, the Nationals had no chance to match the seven runs the Marlins put up on the board, and fell to 13-11 in a 7-1 Saturday night.
Apart from Volstad imposing his 6' 8" self on the Nationals lineup, Washington fans found themself dissapointed as the Nationals club seemed to take a step backward on the night, allowing six earned runs and commiting two errors.
Volstad, 24, dominated the Nats line up through nine innings. The Marlins first round draft pick in 2005 struck out eight Nationals batters while only allowing one walk and four hits. His bread-and-butter pitch was his low-90s sinker which he through 55 times on the night for 55 strikes. He kept hitters off balance with his mid-80s changeup which he threw 27 times on the night for 14 strikes.
Throwing only 114 pitches on the night, Volstad did a good job painting the corners earning called strikes through all nine innings. It wasn't his ability to get the Nationals batters to swing and miss that made him so succesful on the night, but his ability to force them into weak contact. On the year Volstad has allowed an extremly low .237 Batting Average On Balls In Play, due to his strong sinker. This showed Saturday as he allowed only one line-drive on the night according to FanGraphs, forcing 11 ground balls and 10 fly balls.
On the mound Stammen struggled to find the success he had in his previous two starts. The 26-year-old just couldn't keep the Fish off the basepaths despite good stuff. In four innings pitched Stammen allowed seven hits, two walks, and struck out two. His stuff however was good, he was able to enduce 10 swinging strikes on the night, three from his curveball and four from his slider. His fastball sat at about 90 MPH and his curve dropped down to 80.However despite his ability to fool the Marlins batters, too many were honing in on his fastball and getting on base.
At the plate, Ryan Zimmerman chimed in for his second consecutive two hit game. The only other hits on the night came from Adam Kennedy and Adam Dunn.