Game 140 // Eighth Inning, Washington D.C. // The Marlins Are Out of Water

BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: NATIONALS 12 (8) – 9 MARLINS

 

About time we enjoyed a good old fashioned cellar battle.

If we take “Marlins” to mean: That perennially bad team at the bottom of the N.L. East…

Then we have here tonight a game of Who Are the Real Marlins:

The Marlins, or the Nationals?

 

 

 

The Nationals have just lost five in a row, swept in four games by the Mets.

With Bryce Harper gone, Daniel Murphy gone, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, Wilson Ramos gone.

 

A shell of that former great-but-never-won-anything dynasty…

As they creep, ever so closer, to Marlinsville.

 

 

 

Just in time, it seems…

As the Marlins Marlins have come to town. 

A Marlins team that, somehow, has just won six games in a row.

After a surprising spate of good baseball, in Detroit.

After this:

 

 

 

Making people wonder… making them think outlandish thoughts.

 

 

 

And putting these two teams, matched up tonight, within 1.5 games of each other in this Battle for the N.L. Anti-Throne…

With these Marlins looking keen to abdicate.

 

Winning 9-8 going into the bottom of this eighth inning.

As the fans at Nationals Park approach the nosedive that goes, in this 2019 season…

Hope • Hopeless • Defeated • Faux-apathy • Sadness • True apathy

 

And a looming summer of tuning out completely.

 

 

 

To make things worse, Trea Turner comes up to lead off the inning for Washington, and he strikes out looking on a borderline pitch below his knees.

 

 

 

Can it get worse?

 

As Shakespeare wrote, in King Lear:

“And worse I may be yet: the worst is not, so long as we can say ‘This is the worst’.”

 

Translation—it can get worse.

 

Even the national baseball writers are piling on:

 

 

 

But then. But then.

The worst wriggled its way up into something. And something sprouted into better. 

As these Nats, just barely, creep out of the jurisdiction of collapse.

 

Adam Eaton draws a walk. Then Anthony Rendon follows, with another walk.

The Marlins make a double switch, and Tayron Guerrero comes in from the bullpen for Nick Anderson.

 

 

 

Juan Soto comes up, takes two pitches, fouls off a heater over the plate.

Then a 3-1 count, a 100-mph fastball down the middle from Guerrero, and… 

Just like that, the Nats go up, 11-9.

 

 

 

 

Matt Adams comes up to follow, with the bases empty.

And he, too, gets the triple-digit mph fastball over the plate.

And he, too, sends it into the stands.

 

12-9, Nationals ahead.

 

 

 

“The crowd’s going nuts,” they say on the broadcast. “They’re losing their minds right now at Nats Park!”

 

 

 

“Well,” they say, “Don Mattingly had one guy in there who throws it all over the place, brings in a guy who can throw strikes, and they both leave the yard.”

And so, back to the bullpen phone it is.

 

 

 

One of the most wild, back-and-forth games all year.

A tourniquet for the bleeding Nationals.

And a knife into the momentum of the gunning-for-fourth-place Marlins.

 

Back to their rightful habitat. The Marlins are the Marlins.

In the bottom of the ocean.

 

Or, more like it, in a valiant attempt to escape… launched onto a dock. 

Out in the open air, stuck in place. Flopping around. 

 

Flailing.

 

 

 

 

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