With the help of some great defense, Andrew Miller recorded his first career quality start but the Florida bullpen faltered as the Nats defeated the Fish, 6-4 on Friday night at Dolphin Stadium.
After giving up three runs on 37 pitches in the 1st, Miller shut down the Washington offense for the next four innings, only allowing three more hits on 53 more offerings. But it wasn't because he had overpowering stuff. Whatsoever. Miller's quality outing was preserved by the guys behind him on several different occasions, the most prominent being on a play at the plate. The young left hander was very lucky not to give up at least 5 runs but because of his 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 K line and because there's no one left in the minors except Chris Volstad, who the organization doesn't want to rush, he earned himself at least a couple more starts.
After only managing to scratch across one run against Nationals starter Tim Redding in the first five frames, Florida finally figured him out in the 6th. With Hanley Ramirez on second, Jeremy Hermida hit an RBI single and the next batter, Josh Willingham smacked a two run homer, his fourth long ball of the year, posting a 3 spot and taking a one run lead. However, the lead would be short lived. Justin Miller struggled for the first time this year, giving up three more Washington runs in the 7th while the Washington bullpen tossed three scoreless innings. The Marlins struck out 12 times. In their last two games, they've K'ed a combined 28 times.
Three of those strikeouts belonged to Dan Uggla, who after an off day, went 0-4. It was his eighth 0fer of the year. Hitting out of the two hole, Uggla owns a .167 batting average, a .219 OBP, a .552 OPS and a 9:3 K:BB. Meanwhile, Hermida is hitting .273 with a .314 OBP, an .860 OPS, 2 homers and 8 RBIs. Hermida is probably the most patient hitter in the Florida lineup. Even though he missed the first three months of the season last year, he walked 47 times and had 63 RBIs, fourth most on the roster. Hermida continues to hit third this year, behind the free swinging slumping Uggla. What gives?
Game 2 of the weekend series tonight. Shawn Hill will make his first start of the year for the Nationals. Historically, he has baffled the Fish. In five career starts against them, Hill is 2-1 with a 2.54 ERA and a .241 BAA. Burke Badenhop will make his second career Major League start for Florida.