Now that they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention, the Florida Marlins can focus on ending their longest losing streak of the season.
Florida tries to avoid its fifth straight loss as it continues a three-game series with the NL-worst Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
The Marlins (81-76) lost 9-4 to the Nationals (59-98) on Tuesday, ending Florida’s hopes of returning to the postseason for the first time since winning the World Series in 2003. The fourth straight loss also matched their season high set twice before.
“What are you going to do?” said Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team won 71 games in 2007. “It’s Sept. 23, and we just got eliminated, so you’ve got to be pretty proud of the club and the way they’ve battled.”
Florida trailed 5-3 entering the eighth inning when reliever Eulogio De La Cruz gave up four runs. The Marlins had won 12 of the previous 15 games against Washington, including all six at Nationals Park.
While the loss ended its postseason hopes, Florida can hand the Nationals their 100th loss of the season if it wins the next two games. The Marlins also could play spoiler this weekend, wrapping up the regular season in New York against the NL wild card-leading Mets.
“Now we get the chance hopefully go to in there like we did last year with the Mets and still play for something,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve still got some games left here with Washington, and I’m sure they’re going to be pretty meaningful games in New York.”
Tuesday’s win snapped Washington’s five-game losing streak, and was just its third in 13 games overall.
“I knew they were fighting for the wild card,” Washington manager Manny Acta told the Nationals’ official Web site. “We are trying to win as many games as we can. We get no satisfaction hurting people.”
Washington is trying to avoid moving closer the franchise’s first 100-loss season since 1976, and hands the ball to Tim Redding (10-10, 4.67 ERA), who has lost his last two starts.
Redding pitched three innings against the Mets on Thursday, allowing five runs - four earned - and seven hits in a 7-2 loss.
Redding is 4-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 10 career starts against the Marlins. He’s 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA in five starts against them this season.
The Marlins’ Josh Johnson (6-1, 3.65) will try to win his third straight start. He pitched five innings against the Phillies on Friday, allowing six runs - five earned - and seven hits in a 14-8 win.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance against the Nationals. On Sept. 13, he pitched six innings, allowing two runs and six hits in a 4-2 win over Washington.