August 17, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 153 Review: Nats drop 4th straight, fall to Phils

JORDAN ZIMMERMANN MAKES LIKELY LAST HOME START BEFORE FREE AGENCY

Jordan Zimmermann would have liked to have gone out on a brighter note. His final start of the season at home — and likely for his Washington Nationals career — was nowhere near his last start a season ago.

Zimmermann gave up six earned runs on six hits and two walks over five innings and the Nats fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 8-2 on Friday in a game that paled in comparison to Zimmermann’s no-hitter on the final day of 2014.

The stoic right-hander from Wisconsin, set to be a free agent at the end of the season, received a huge ovation from the partisan crowd when he took the mound. But a four-run third inning, including an inside-the-park grand slam, and two more runs in the fifth ended his night early. And since he was subbed for a pinch-hitter, the crowd wasn’t able to celebrate him one more time upon his removal from the game.

It wasn’t much of a game to write home about.

The Nats (78-75) got on the board first against Phillies rookie Jerad Eickhoff. Anthony Rendon led off the first with a double to left and after Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper struck out (one of three on the night for Harper), Jayson Werth singled to center to bring home Rendon.

It stayed 1-0 until the third. Brian Bogusevic earned a walk to lead off and went to second on Cameron Rupp’s single. Eickhoff tried to sacrifice, but Zimmermann attempted to get the lead runner — at catcher Wilson Ramos’ urging — and all hands were safe. Freddy Galvis lined to center, but Aaron Altherr laced a sinking liner to short center that Michael Taylor laid out for — and missed cleanly.

The ball rolled to the warning track and Werth retrieved it, but the relays were too late and Altherr raced around the bases to complete the rare inside-the-park grand slam.

If that wasn’t enough to take the wind out of the Nats sails — it was, though — Altherr and Darin Ruf added solo homers in the fifth against Zimmermann.

Meanwhile, unheralded rookie Eickhoff mowed down the Nationals, recording 10 strikeouts in seven innings. He gave up just five hits and one walk to earn his second big league win.

The only other blemish on Eickhoff’s record was Werth’s solo home run in the sixth, his 12th of the season.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 4:05 p.m. Stephen Strasburg (10-7, 3.81) hosts Aaron Nola (6-2, 3.84).

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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