Normally, Robinson would have used Micah Bowie or Jon Rauch in that
situation, but Bowie is hurt and, according to Robinson, Rauch was
overworked. Instead, Robinson went to Ryan Wagner, a person whom, the
organization acknowledged, needed to work on his mechanics. The Nationals
are trying to get him to throw three-quarters and sidearm as opposed to
throwing completing overhanded.
Wagner found himself in trouble early in the eighth, when the Marlins had
runners on first and second with one out. After he got Reggie Abercrombie to
pop up to shortstop Felipe Lopez, Wagner uncorked a wild pitch to put runner
on second and third and Wes Helms at the plate.
Helms then doubled near the left-field line to drive in Josh Willingham and
Miguel Olivo to give the Marlins an 8-6 lead.
"It was fastball in. We wanted it in, I got it in. He got the bat head out
there just enough to keep it fair," Wagner said. "I checked it over on the
video. The fastball was up a little bit, but it was in. It's just one of
The Marlins added another run in the ninth inning, when Olivo singled to
right field to score off Saul Rivera and drive in Alfredo Amezaga.
Robinson didn't seem surprised that his relievers didn't come through Thursday.
"We just didn't make good pitches. [We] got behind hitters," Robinson said. "It's
not frustrating. You know what you have going in. You hope you get a decent
performance when you are called on to do it. One thing about it is, the one
thing you are not going to have from them is consistency. That's the thing.
You may get it one night, but you may not get it for another three or four
"We kind of had that problem all year long to where the bullpen has given up
runs in the [late innings]," he said. "We haven't been able to shut people down in the
back end of ballgames this year."
The bullpen wasn't the only problem for the Nationals on Thurdsay. They had
a couple of chances to take the Marlins out of the game. In the first
inning, Washington had the bases loaded with no outs, but Anibal Sanchez managed
to get out of the inning unscathed.
Nick Johnson made the first out by popping out to second baseman Dan Uggla.
Austin Kearns followed and hit into a double play.
"You couldn't ask for a better opportunity than we had. To come away with
nothing, that's devastating, really," Robinson said. "We always remember the
end of games, but you know if you take care of business early on, then it
wouldn't come to [talking about the end of the game]."
Kearns said Sanchez changed his whole game plan against the Nationals. The
previous time they met in Florida, Sanchez threw sinkers and curveballs.
This time, Sanchez threw sliders and cutters.
"He did a good job getting out of it. But you want to be up there in those
situations," Kearns said.
The Marlins' victory spoiled a nice comeback by the Nationals in the bottom
of the seventh inning, in which they scored four runs to tie the score at 6.
Reliever Sergio Mitre couldn't get a hitter out, walking the bases loaded
with no outs. Enter Brian Moehler, who allowed a two-run single to Nick
After Moehler got Kearns to hit into a force play and struck out Ryan
Church, Brian Schneider singled to right-center field to score Johnson to
make it a one-run game.
Pinch-hitter Daryle Ward then tied the game with a double to left field to
score Kerns and tie the score at 6.
"We battled back. That's good. Still, you look up there and you say, 'If we
could put something on the board [early], maybe we would have won this
game,'" Robinson said. "With our pitchers and the lack of experience, we are
going to have to score some runs. When we get opportunities, we have to take
advantage of them. We can't expect to win ballgames, 3-2, 4-3. We have to
put six or more runs on the board to win ballgames now."