Shut down and shut out by the Marlins last night, the Nationals look to bounce back in the 2nd of 3 in D.C.
Sandy Alcantara no-hit the Washington Nationals through 7 2⁄3 innings last night, and gave up one hit total in eight scoreless frames, then reliever Dylan Floro worked around one hit in the ninth to complete a 3-0 shutout win for Miami’s Marlins in the series opener in D.C.
It was the first shutout loss for Davey Martinez’s club since the San Francisco Giants beat the Nationals 1-0 back on June 11th.
Before that Martinez’s team was shut out seven times in April and May. Since then, they’ve managed to put runs on the board even as they’ve lost a lot of games.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in our offense,” Josh Bell said, after breaking up Alcantara’s no-hit bid with a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth. “I want to say it was [Hitting Coach Kevin Long who] made a bet early in the year that we wouldn’t get shut out two times in a row all season, and I know we traded guys, but that still holds true. I feel like 1-9 we know that we can put runs on the board, we can put together great at-bats, and we can have guys in scoring position, so hopefully that changes tomorrow.”
Though they came up empty last night, Martinez said as always they would have to just put the shutout loss behind them and try to go 1-0 in the second of three with the Marlins.
“We just got to forget about it today,” Martinez told reporters in a post game Zoom call last night. “Like I said, sometimes you got to take your hat off to your opponent who’s pitching, and shake it off and come back tomorrow. We’ve been hitting the ball well, we really have, so let’s come back tomorrow and put some runs on the board.”
Bell said that around the fourth or fifth inning everyone is aware that a pitcher is working on a no-hitter, and the pressure builds as the game goes on and you’ve yet to break it up.
But the focus in his at-bats doesn’t change.
“I think it’s just putting a good swing on a good pitch,” he said. “I felt pretty decent in my at-bat before, and I chased, so I was just trying to go up there that at-bat and make sure that something was in the zone. That was the first slider that I saw from him in a really long time. He’s been primarily two-seam and changeups to me for a while now, so I think he was just trying to sneak something in there, and I was able to get underneath it a little bit and drive it.”
Martinez said more than breaking up a no-hit bid, he was just hoping Bell’s hit, which made it to the right field wall but didn’t go over, had cleared the fence, in what was a 1-0 game in the Marlins’ favor at the time.
“I was just — I was hoping it would go over the fence. Yeah, but like I said, Josh got a ball he could hit, got the barrel to it, and hit it hard. But like I said, when you see a guy like that, and he’s throwing the baseball the way he threw it tonight, you’re up for a big task and he threw the ball well.”
How will the Nationals do against Jesús Luzardo tonight? Last time around they put up ten hits and five runs in 4 2⁄3 IP against the former Nats’ prospect.