WASHINGTON -- Marlins gun for their third sweep of the season. It's a 1:35 p.m. start and the sky is overcast, chance of rain later this afternoon according to forecasts.
Emilio Bonifacio remains in the lineup -- and in the leadoff spot -- despite going hitless in his past 15 at bats. He put the ball in play three times yesterday, keeping Ryan Zimmerman busy by tapping three ground balls to the Nationals third baseman. But he struck out on yet another high fastball in his final at bat.
Ross Gload and his .333 (6 for 18) career average against Washington starter Daniel Cabrera, replaces Jorge Cantu at first base and bats clean-up. Nice game yesterday by Gload, who was a big part of the 9th-inning rally with a pinch-hit single that drove in the Marlins' first run of the inning, and led off the decisive 11th with a walk.
Alfredo Amezaga is in center and bats eighth, replacing Cameron Maybin, who is also slumping (see below):
Here's the Marlins lineup:
1. Emilio Bonifacio, 3b; 2. John Baker, c; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Ross Gload, 1b; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b: 6. Jeremy Hermida, lf; 7. Cody Ross, rf; 8. Alfredo Amezaga, cf; 9. Chris Volstad, p.
And the Nationals (1-9):
1. Hernandez, 2b; 2. Nick Johnson, 1b; 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3b; 4. Adam Dunn, lf; 5. Elijah Dukes, cf; 6. Austin Kearns, , rf; 7. Jesus Flores, c; 8. Alberto Gonzalez, ss; 9. Daniel Cabrera, p.
Had a little Sunday morning chat with Maybin just a moment ago and talked to him about his current hitting woes. He is hitting just .206 and is 2 for 13 on the road trip. He has only one extra-base hit -- a double -- so far this season, and he's scored just three runs.
Here's what Maybin had to say:
"I still feel pretty confident. I've just got to make adjustments a little bit. I've been going forward and I need to stay back a little bit. Just a little too aggressive. Still learning the 8 hole and I'm learning that you get a lot of junk. You don't get a lot of stuff to hit. Even talking to Dukes (Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes), he was one of my buddies. You got to be patient in the 8 hole and the last couple of days I've been drawing some walks and making the other guy throw a lot of pitches. But when you get that one pitch, you've got to try to make good on it. Hitting down there is a lot different than hitting at the top of the order.
"Last year it was the same thing. I started off a little slow (at Double A Carolina) at the beginning of the year, started off real slow, and I made the adjusments. I don't think it's a particular pitch. It's just getting a good pitch to hit. I've been getting a little too impatient up there. You've got to be patient and get your pitch, and you've got to be willing to take your walks.
"When you're not swinging the way you want to, you want to play well on defense, is take some hits away. Defensively I feel great out there. You want to stay positive. You have one good day and you're right where you want to be. If I can keep mixing some walks in and have a 2-hit game. It is early. It if it's August, then I'd be a little antsy.