The Miami Marlins opened the 2017 season with a 4-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Monday.
Washington is a World Series contender and had one of their best arms on the mound to start. Miami countered with newcomer Edinson Volquez, who was tested early and survived. Miami was leading by two until the sixth inning, but David Phelps allowed three runs in his two innings of work. Phelps would get the loss and Volquez ended up with a no-decision.
Both teams were held scoreless until the fourth inning, when the Marlins saw their bats awake. Giancarlo Stanton brought in the first run of the season, after J.T. Realmuto doubled off Stephen Strasburg. Stanton would score himself, when Marcell Ozuna singled him home.
After wiggling out of a big jam in the first inning, Volquez ended up going five scoreless innings. The right-hander allowed four hits and struck out six. Washington had two runners on in the first inning with nobody out, before Volquez struck out the side.
In addition to his arm, Volquez helped Miami with his bat. The veteran went 2-2 at the plate, in what was the first two-hit game of his career. Volquez has pitched in the American League in recent seasons and had not picked up a hit since 2014.
Miami went to Phelps in the sixth inning, as part the new design of the bullpen. The Marlins will likely go with shorter starts for their rotation and use middle relievers often. Even though Volquez could have went longer, manager Don Mattingly opted to utilize his new-look bullpen for the final four innings.
Phelps served up a home run to Bryce Harper in the sixth inning, but stopped the damage there in that frame. Phelps stayed in for a second inning of work and allowed a two-run home run to pinch-hitter Adam Lind. That HR would end up being the game-winner for the the Nationals.
Brad Ziegler entered in the eighth inning, after Junich Tazawa ran into trouble. A run scored off Tazawa and the bases were loaded with no outs for Ziegler. The veteran reliever escaped the jam and prevented the Nationals from adding on any more runs. That effort kept the deficit at two heading into the ninth inning.
After a day off, Miami will send Dan Straily to the mound against the Nationals on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.