The Washington Times - August 4, 2009, 08:37PM

As we head into the bottom of the fifth, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the Nationals are down 3-0 to the Marlins. After all, they’ve lost 23 of 26 to the Fish in the last two seasons. But with everything that’s happened, the game could be worse.

Elijah Dukes misplayed a Chris Coghlan base hit in the first, allowing the left fielder to reach third, and fired unnecessarily to Willie Harris at third base. It took a sliding stop by Harris — about 15 feet to the right of the bag — to prevent Coghlan from scoring.


J.D. Martin threw 99 pitches in 4 1/3 innings, walking four and giving up two homers. And the Nats have just two hits on Josh Johnson, who’s continued his mastery of them — and homered off Martin in the fourth.

So how is this game only 3-0? Give Martin some credit for battling out of a self-created jam in the first (he walked Dan Uggla to load the bases, then struck out Jeremy Hermida and got Cody Ross to fly out to center). Florida has stranded five runners since then, two of them in scoring position.

But there’s little that’s happened so far to suggest this will be anything other than a mass-produced Marlins victory.