The Washington Times - September 24, 2009, 08:59PM

Yes, it’s 8:59 p.m., and we’re in the middle of the fifth inning. This hasn’t exactly been a study in sound baseball tonight. J.D. Martin went out of the game after three innings, the Nationals gave up an unearned run in the top of the fifth and they trail 6-4 to the Dodgers.

Martin gave up hits to the first four batters, including a three-run homer from Matt Kemp to put the Dodgers up 4-0 before he recorded an out. The last time the Nats had a quality start was last Saturday, when John Lannan posted one against the Mets. At this point, that’s kind of what their rotation is — Lannan and four days of hoping for the best. They didn’t get it from Martin tonight. This was his second-shortest outing of the year.


And after the Nats pulled within one with a three-run second, Martin gave up another run in the third. The Dodgers’ other run came in the fifth, when they didn’t even need a hit to score. Josh Willingham dropped a fly ball that was right in his glove, putting Kemp on second, and after a wild pitch, the Dodgers drove Kemp in on a fielder’s choice.

There’s still time for the Nats to avoid loss No. 100 for another night — their offense has shown signs of life against Vicente Padilla — but if they win this one, it won’t be pretty.