Washington (55-49) at Miami (53-48)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Miami Gardens, FL
Temp: 87° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 31, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Washington Nationals haven’t been the same since the All-Star break.

They’re hoping staff ace Livan Hernandez can help them end their longest losing streak of the season as they wrap up a three-game series with the surging Florida Marlins at Dolphins Stadium.

The Nationals lost 3-0 to the Marlins on Saturday for their sixth straight loss and 18th in 23 games. Washington fell to 3-13 since the All-Star break and is five games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East after leading the division by 5 1/2 games on July 2.

“We didn’t do much of anything today except the first inning. We could have gotten something going and maybe had a chance to win a ballgame,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said.

A.J. Burnett, who has been the subject of trade rumors along with third baseman Mike Lowell as Sunday’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches, pitched seven scoreless innings for Florida. General manager Larry Beinfest hinted after the game that the Marlins, who have won four straight and eight of 10, might not want to sell off their marquee players.

“I would not anticipate any major changes to this team,” Beinfest said. “We like this ballclub. We always did, and I think we’re seeing it all come together right now. Any deal I anticipate would be an enhancement.”

Hernandez will try to slow down the Marlins in the series finale. The Cuban right-hander allowed just one earned run and five hits in eight innings of the Nationals’ 10-inning, 3-2 loss to the Braves on Tuesday.

Hernandez, who is 0-2 in his last four starts after winning 11 straight decisions, said after his previous start on July 20 that he might undergo season-ending surgery on his right knee. The following day he said he would not have surgery.

Robinson said the heat and Hernandez’s knee problems prompted him to remove his starter after eight innings Tuesday.

“Livan gave us a tremendous eight innings, but we couldn’t close the deal. We couldn’t ask him to do any more,” Robinson said.

Hernandez will square off against Florida’s Brian Moehler, who allowed four earned runs and a season high-tying 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings of Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, snapping a four-start winning streak in his shortest outing of the season.

Hernandez and Moehler squared off on April 9 in the Nationals’ 10-inning, 3-2 win. Hernandez gave up one unearned run and five hits in seven innings and Moehler allowed two earned runs and three hits in 4 2-3 innings in his first start since April 16, 2003.

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Starting Pitchers

L. Hernandez Mil vs. B. Moehler Hou
15-10 Record 6-12
3.98 ERA 4.55
147 K 95
84 BB 42
1.43 WHIP 1.52