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Even though his team won its last game, Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson still sees plenty of room for improvement for his struggling squad. The Nationals (50-63) hope for a more productive night at the plate when they wrap up a three-game series with the Florida Marlins (52-61) on Thursday at RFK Stadium. Washington beat Florida 5-2 on Wednesday to end a three-game losing streak, but went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 14 on base. The Nationals scored one run on a wild pitch and another on an error. They've left a total of 31 runners on base over their last three games, and scored just seven runs during their losing streak.''People will say, 'You won the ballgame, what are you crying about?' But you have to understand that if you take advantage of the opportunities you have, it's an easier game for you,'' Robinson said. ''The way it was, we were fighting for our lives at the end of the ballgame.'' Alex Escobar drove in two runs Wednesday on a pair of sacrifice flies for the Nationals. ''Thank goodness for Escobar - at least we got two in from third base,'' Robinson said.The Marlins didn't fare much better, going 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and leaving 10 aboard. They have left 37 on base in their last four games. Mike Jacobs singled in a run Wednesday for Florida, which has lost four of its last five games. Rookie Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 4.27 ERA) will look to help the Marlins bounce back in the finale. He allowed three runs in six innings of Friday's 6-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers . Sanchez has lost his last two starts - including an 11-5 defeat at Philadelphia on July 30 in which he allowed eight runs in 4 1-3 innings - after winning his first four decisions this season. ''This is two starts in a row that I struggled,'' he said. ''I felt very good the first two innings, but then I lost the command that I am used to having. This is a learning experience, I guess. You're not going to have your 'A' game every time out there.'' Sanchez has started against the Nationals twice this year, going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. He allowed one hit over seven innings in a 1-0 victory on July 19. Washington will counter with Pedro Astacio (2-2, 5.49), who gave up five runs in 6 2-3 innings of Saturday's 6-3 loss at San Diego. The start was the seventh of the season for the 36-year-old right-hander, who began the year on the disabled list with a right forearm strain. Astacio is 11-3 with a 4.30 ERA in 26 appearances, including 22 starts, against the Marlins - his most wins against any team. He gave up one run in five innings of a 9-1 victory over Florida in his first start of the season on July 3.
Bernie Castro starting tonight at 2B.
Actually I can believe it. Is it possible to lose a game in the first inning? They could very well have allowed Sanchez the chance to dominate them the rest of the game. Let's hope that's not the case.
He walks the first three batters!!! Why are swinging before two strikes?
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