Since then, Anibal Sanchez has had two decent starts and seen his ERA begin to fall, as I predicted it would. Collin Balester however is coming off his second worst start of the season (game score 33) against the Padres and is dangerously close to seeing his ERA creep over 5 to end the season. Strasburg or no, you have to root for him tonight.
One recent slightly concerning trend is that Balester is suddenly becoming much more of a flyball pitcher--he hasn't had more GBs than FBs on balls in play in four straight starts. That's not his game. For the season, his GB/FB ratio stands at 1.06, while in Columbus it was 1.09. He needs to get back in that area or even better. That means keeping the ball down better.
Finally, for more on the Marlins' offense, check out my preview of game one of the series.
Season Record: 32-21
Weather.com says the best prediction is that they aren't going to get the game in at all, in which case I suppose the Marlins would have to come back to DC for a make up game the day after the last game of the season. But if the game is played I'll bet on Sanchez continuing his run of solid but unspectacular starts as the Marlins win, 5-2.
- Brian from NFA points out that if there aren't playoff implications that tonight's game could simply be canceled, leaving the Nationals and the Marlins each with 161 games played for the season. There are probably other examples, but this at least happened in 2003 when the Giants and the Mets had a season-ending make-up game canceled at the request of the playoff-bound visiting Giants. The Mets ended the year with a 66-95 record while the Giants finished 100-61. Interestingly, in that case I'm not sure it's even fair to say that skipping the regular season make-up finale had no playoff implications. The Giants began their playoff series with the Marlins on September 30, two days after the cancelled make-up, allowing them more time to rest their staff and set up their rotation. Personally, without deep thought, I don't like this. The baseball season is 162 games, dammit. Would it be ok for the Cubs to just take the rest of their season off since they've already clinched? How about if Manny had just folded the ninth inning last night since it was a blowout and the season is over anyway. Why not just cancel tonight right now, or decide the outcome with a game of rock-paper-scissors with Fredi Gonzalez. I'm obviously making too much out of a pretty much meaningless thing, but I've been watching meaningless baseball since August 2005. It's hard for me to accept that somehow this game is not worth playing because the players would have to get on a plane and skip some tee times.