July 3, 2020

Washington Nationals Game 141: LaRoche Helps Nats Sneak Past Phillies with 3-2 Win

First baseman Adam LaRoche went 2-for-4 with two home runs to help the Washington Nationals to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon.

In addition to LaRoche’s two runs scored, Ian Desmond crossed the plate once to account for the third run on a day in which both starting pitchers came through with decent outings.

Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez (W, 8-9) had the upper hand throughout the game, however. Through six innings pitched, he allowed just two runs – one earned – over five hits and three strikeouts. For Philly, Cole Hamels dealt three earned runs over seven hits, three walks and seven strikeouts through 6.1 innings.

Philadelphia came up with the unearned run early when, with two outs and Grady Sizemore on first, Marlon Byrd singled up the middle. On the play, Denard Span committed a throwing error, which allowed Sizemore to score and brought Byrd to third. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 109 Review: Nats Shut Out Phillies to Earn Series Split

For the second day in a row, the Washington Nationals shut out the Philadelphia Phillies, this time to win by the score of 4-0 Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park.

Nats right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched a gem, allowing just three hits while striking out ten and walking just one batter over seven innings pitched. He was perfect through the first two innings, and retired nine of his first 10 batters faced.

In the meantime, the Nats broke little ground against Phillies starter Cole Hamels. In fact, the 6-6 starter allowed just one unearned run and one more hit than his counterpart – but, it was enough to earn him the loss.

Nevertheless, it was not without effort that the Nats posted a run against Hamels.

In the bottom of the third, Jose Lobaton reached first with one out on a fielding error by third baseman Cody Asche. Lobaton took second on a perfect bunt by Strasburg, and came home on a single by Denard Span before Anthony Rendon lined out to end the inning.

Philadelphia had few opportunities to score, but they came up empty in each.

Jimmy Rollins led off the fourth with a single up the middle and stole second, but no one was able to bat him in.

In the fifth, the Phillies found themselves in a similar situation as Asche doubled with two outs but got nowhere.

Then, when Philadelphia called in Ken Giles for relief in the bottom of the eighth, Washington earned its insurance runs almost immediately.

Span led off with a walk and came home on a double by Rendon before Rendon himself scored on a double by Jayson Werth. Giles intentionally walked Adam LaRoche to get to Ian Desmond, who struck out swinging, but the Phillies then called on reliever Jake Diekman to stop the bleeding.

Before doing so, he lobbed a run-scoring wild pitch, allowing the Nats to make it 4-0 before the inning came to a close.


THE GOOD: The Nats proved they could follow up a powerhouse performance from Saturday’s 11-0 rout with yet another lights-out performance. Stephen Strasburg was superb, allowing just three hits and striking out 10 for the fifth time in his career.

THE BAD: Ian Desmond and Asdrubal Cabrera each went 0-for-4 on the day. Desmond struck out twice and Cabrera K’d once.

THE STATS: 4 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 2-for-6 RISP, 6 LOB

Nationals vs Phillies: Washington Overthrowing The Latest NL East Dynasty

Between 1995 and 2005, the NL East division, and much of baseball, belonged to the Atlanta Braves. Following the arrival of the Washington Nationals in 2005, control of the division switched to the Philadelphia Phillies. In the past several years, however, we’ve seen another change of power. This time, the torch is being passed to the Nationals and it hasn’t always been a pretty transition.

Over the six season span between 2005 and 2011, the Phillies won five NL East division titles and made two World Series, winning the league championship in 2007. Head-to-head, the Nationals put together a dismal 49-79 record. Washington struggled to perform even in front of the home town crowd, defeating their rivals just 26 times for the D.C. faithful.

The Phillies treated the Nationals as though they were their younger brother. They picked on them and the fans had no troubles doing the same. Washington wasn’t exactly a national power at the point in time, though, as for many years they finished with a below-.500 record. All the while, however, Mike Rizzo and company continued to quietly build a team anxiously awaiting to take over not just the NL East, but Major League Baseball.

As the 2012 season arrived, the Phillies seemed poised to win their sixth-consecutive division title. Coming off of a 102-win season and returning much of their talent, it was hard to argue against the expectations set for them. In Washington, the talent was there and Davey Johnson was the right manager for the job, but the expectations were set low due to the youth in the team’s clubhouse.

In the offseason prior to the 2012 season, Washington acquired Gio Gonzalez via a trade with the Oakland Athletics to solidify a talented starting pitching staff. Jordan Zimmermann entered his first full season after Tommy John Surgery and Stephen Strasburg was back from his procedure, albeit on an innings limit. Bryce Harper was called up in early April of that year and Jayson Werth was finding his swing again.

As mentioned before, they were talented, but they were young. It was a group rag-tag guys in the field and on the bench. The sky was the limit, but the expectations were low. With the Phillies still viewed as the king of the division, not many were paying close attention to the boys in D.C.

That is, until one Sunday night in late May when young Bryce Harper delivered the first shot in Washington’s overthrow of their division rivals in Philadelphia.

At home in front of a national TV audience, the young 19-year old made his way to the batters box with two outs in the first inning. Then six-year veteran pitcher Cole Hamels promptly drilled Harper in the small of his back. Harper took his base, but the drama was far from over.

After going from first to third on a single, Harper stole home when Hamels threw to first in an attempt to pickoff the runner. Following the game, Hamels admitted to throwing at Harper, claiming that he was trying to continue an old way of baseball. While Hamels and the Phillies may have been more concerned with the good old days, the Nationals were more interested in dethroning them atop the division.

While Washington lost that contest 9-3, they ended up splitting the season-series with Philadelphia, 9-9. The Nationals, however gained the upper hand where it mattered most: the standings. The same year Hamels beaned Harper, the Nationals ended Philadelphia’s reign over by winning their first NL East Division title since moving to Washington.

The following year, while underwhelming for the Nationals, saw the tables turn even more in favor of Washington. After breaking even a year before, they won the season series with an 11-8 record, including 7-2 at home. Including their early season series with Philadelphia this year, they’ve gone 21-19 against their rivals going back to 2012.

While the Nationals have risen, the fall of the Phillies has been swift and with a thud. After their 102-win season in 2011, they went 154-170 over the next two years, including a 73-win season a year ago. Their highest finish in the division standings has been third, and currently sit at 15-14 this season and fourth in the division.

The final shot in the overthrow may have been delivered this past Friday night when the little brother stood up for itself in the fifth inning of their series-opening bout. As Denard Span settled into the batters box, pitcher Cliff Lee fired a pitch high and tight, forcing Span to turn his shoulder out of the way. Span would not be picked on and the rest of the club wouldn’t stand for it, either.

Span then grounded out to end his at bat. As he jogged back across the field, Lee began to bark at him. Standing his ground, Span turned to face the 35-year old veteran. Backing up their comrades, both benches cleared and the bullpens soon followed. No punches were thrown; no shoves were made. Words were exchanged, and with them a message was reiterated.

The Washington Nationals are no longer the NL East’s, and the Philadelphia Phillies’, younger brother. While they may have had their way with them for a while, there’s a new reign beginning in the division.

Washington Nationals Game 148 Review: Nats fall short to Phillies; back to 5 ½ games out of NL Wild Card

The Washington Nationals can’t expect to sweep the remainder of the season, but each and every loss places the NL Wild Card  further from view.

Saturday night’s 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies was no doubt hard for the Nats to swallow. Trailing by four runs into the seventh, the Nats came back to within one run of tying but came up empty in a game against a team that has been playing sub-par baseball for quite some time.

Gio Gonzalez (L, 10-7) was in control until the fifth inning rolled around. Before that point, the Nats had recorded the game’s only run – in the first on a single by Denard Span, a walk to Ryan Zimmerman and a sacrifice fly by Jayson Werth off starter Cole Hamels.

In the fifth, however, the Phillies came to life. With one out, John Mayberry homered to left center to quickly tie the game. Hamels and Cesar Hernandez each followed up with a single before Chase Utley walked and Carlos Ruis doubled in three runs.

Ian Krol came in to pitch for Gonzalez in the seventh, but allowed a double to Jimmy Rollins and a single to Utley before Davey Johnson quickly called upon Erik Davis. Davis retired the next two batters before allowing a ground-rule double Cody Asche. He did, however, force Freddy Galvis to line to Tyler Moore at first to end the inning without allowing another run to score.

In the seventh, it appeared the Nats were going to make a run to retake the lead. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 50 Review: Strasburg sharp as Nats win series vs. Phillies

Stephen Strasburg (W, 3-5) was stellar Sunday afternoon as the Washington Nationals (26-24) emerged the victor of the rubber game against the Philadelphia Phillies (24-26) with a final score of 6-1.

Despite the fact that both Strasburg and his opponent, Cole Hamels (L, 1-8), have encountered their fair share of struggles early this season, the two aces carried out quite the pitcher’s duel through the stretch.

Through eight innings pitched, Strasburg allowed just five hits and one earned run in what was easily his best outing this season. He also struck out nine, including the side in both the fourth and sixth innings.

Hamels, in turn, provided Philly with six innings of shutout baseball before the Nats finally made their move. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo fires back at Cole Hamels for beanball

Bryce Harper hit by pitch by Cole Hamels during first at bat, Phillies v. Nats Sunday Night Baseball May 6 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

You want Natitude? Mike Rizzo’s got it.

The day after he witnessed his prized pupil intentionally hit by a veteran pitcher simply for the audacity of playing hard and you know, being 19, Mike Rizzo unleashed his fury in an interview with The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore this morning.

“He thinks he’s sending a message to us of being a tough guy. He’s sending the polar opposite message. He says he’s being honest; well, I’m being honest. It was a gutless chicken [bleep] [bleeping] act. That was a fake-tough act. No one has ever accused Cole Hamels of being old school.”

No really, Mike, what did you really think of the incident? [Read more…]

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