In the finale of a three-game series between these NL East rivals, Marlins starter Chris Volstad(notes) and Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan(notes) will likely face each other for the first time since they set off an ugly brawl.
In response the following night, Volstad hit the Nationals outfielder with a pitch in the fourth inning. Morgan responded by stealing a pair of bases with his team trailing 14-3, and Volstad threw behind him in his next at-bat.
Morgan charged the mound and took a swing at Volstad that left the Florida pitcher with an abrasion on his cheek. The ensuing melee resulted in a combined nine suspensions.
“I thought it was over after (the fourth inning), but once I saw the ball go right behind me, it’s time to go,” Morgan said. “Once is good enough, but twice, no, it’s time to go.”
Volstad (9-9, 4.96 ERA) will take the ball for this start before beginning a six-game suspension Monday. Morgan is awaiting the outcome of appeals of both an eight-game suspension from the incident with Volstad, and a seven-game penalty for throwing a ball in the stands at Philadelphia on Aug. 21.
Morgan has played in both games of this series, going 2 for 6, and is 1 for 11 in his career versus Volstad.
Volstad us seeking his fifth win in as many starts against Washington (60-82) this season. He’s also 3-0 over his last four starts overall, but is coming off consecutive subpar outings.
The right-hander gave up six runs over five innings in the Sept. 1 win and five in five innings of Tuesday’s 8-7 loss in Philadelphia. He allowed nine hits in each of those outings, including a season-high three homers against the Phillies.
Volstad has benefited from 34 runs of support in his four wins over the Nationals. He might not need that much help this time, as he’ll face a team that’s batted .168 and been outscored 14-5 during a four-game skid.
Washington managed five hits in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat, while Emilio Bonifacio(notes) had a two-run single for Florida (72-69). The Nationals are looking to avoid losing five in a row at home for the first time since Aug. 18-22, 2009.
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann(notes) (0-0, 3.86) will try for a repeat performance of his start against the Marlins on Aug. 31, when he held them to one hit over six innings of the Nationals’ eventual 1-0, 10-inning loss.
The right-hander has a 1.50 ERA in two career starts against the Marlins but has not received a decision in either game.
“I’m sure since you just told me that I’m not going to get on base (Sunday),” Morrison joked with a reporter after Saturday’s game. “I don’t think about it. I have no idea.”
Morrison struck out in both of his at-bats versus Zimmermann last month.
The Marlins are seeking their sixth consecutive win at Nationals Park.