Nats continue to have pitching problems

The Nationals continue to have problems on the mound after an 11-2 loss to the Astros at Osceola County Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Washington’s ERA is now at 7.92 and the staff has walked 61 batters in 119 1/3 innings. 

Right-hander Jason Marquis started for Washington and had nothing in the tank, allowing eight runs in 3 1/3 innings, while walking four batters. Marquis said he didn’t have a feel for any of his pitches and declined to give excuses for his less-than-stellar performance.

The last time he pitched in an exhibition game was March 7 against the Mets, but he pitched in a simulated game last Friday at Space Coast Stadium. A rainout that day prevented him from facing the Yankees.   
       
“We have to go back to the drawing board and try to feel comfortable with the baseball,” Marquis said.  “I have an idea what I want to work on. So all you do is work, work and keep working until you get the feel of what you want and see what happens.”

Marquis wasn’t the only Nationals pitcher having problems Wednesday. Right-hander Matt Capps, Drew Storen and Tyler Walker continue to struggle, allowing a combined three runs in three innings. What’s the problem? They can’t seem to throw first-pitch strikes and the opposing hitters has the advantage at the plate.
   
“Today, I don’t know if we ever threw a first-pitch strike,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “It’s just a reminder to our guys that we have to get ahead in the count. Today, we didn’t do it.”

So how to the Nationals fix their control problems as they get closer to Opening Day?

“A lot of the guys [who are going through control problems] are not going to be with us,” Riggleman said. “But, as we narrow things down, if that were to continue, it would be a concern. But I don’t think that is going to continue.”

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