Monday: Phillies lose 4-0
As explained in the series preview, Nats starter Tanner Roark has owned the Phillies in twenty one innings of work this season (two earned runs allowed). In case the Phils forgot, Roark was there to remind them who’s boss – tossing seven scoreless innings, scattering four measly singles, and striking out five on an even 100 pitches. Only two runners advanced past first base all night. The underrated righty lowered his ERA to a cool 2.87, which just cracks the top ten in all of baseball.
The bigger story featured young Jake Thompson‘s coming out party, so to speak. After a tough first inning, which included a Jayson Werth solo shot and an Anthony Rendon RBI single, Thompson bore down for the final six innings, not surrendering another run. The 22-year old made quick work of the Nats from innings two through six, only to run into trouble in the seventh. Not that Thompson wasn’t “battling” in his first four starts, but this was different. The groove and confidence Thompson found after the first inning willed him through the seventh. With two on, two out, and on the 26th pitch of the inning, Thompson reared back and snapped off his best slider of the night – freezing rookie outfielder Trea Turner. The strikeout was so emphatic, to me, it signified an “I belong here”, moment for Jake Thompson.
Thompson’s line: 7IP, 7H, 2ER, 1BB, 3Ks.
Tuesday: Phillies lose 3-2
The Phils were once again victimized of first inning runs for the third straight game. Jerad Eickhoff, who took the ball Tuesday night looking to even the series, allowed two earned runs before the Phils came to bat. An RBI double courtesy of Bryce Harper and a Wilson Ramos RBI single put the Nats on the board early. Eickhoff would settle in to record a quality start – battling through six innings while allowing three earned.
Facing Nats ace Max Scherzer is no easy task. Facing Max Scherzer with a two-run deficit before getting your first at-bats – almost an impossible task. Scherzer was masterful – utilizing all five of his pitches to make Phillies hitters look foolish. For the tenth time in his nine year career, Scherzer carried a no hitter through five full innings. A Freddy Galvis double broke up the no-hit bid in the sixth. The former first round pick went on to pitch eight strong, allowing two earned, and punching out eleven. Ryan Howard tagged Scherzer in the seventh for a opposite field two-run home run. That was as close as the Phils would get.
Wednesday: Phillies lose 2-1
Another game, another run surrendered in the first inning. Adam Morgan extended the first inning run streak to four – serving up a solo home run to Phillie killer Jayson Werth. As did Velasquez, Thompson, and Eickhoff, Morgan settled in quite nicely thereafter, until the seventh. With two outs and none on, Morgan looked to breeze through the seventh. Within a blink of an eye, Anthony Rendon doubled and Wilson Ramos singled him in as the decisive run, giving the Nats a 2-1 win. This was still a strong performance delivered by Adam Morgan.
Morgan’s line: 6.2IP, 3H, 2ER, 0BB, 5Ks.
The Phils offensive was another story. Once again, unable to get to former prospect Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez went six innings, allowed two hits, and a run. The Phillies mustered just NINE hits total in the three game series.
The calendar will flip to September with a much needed day off, hoping to take out their frustrations on the Atlanta Braves, who come to town for a weekend series starting Friday night. The Phils will turn to Jeremy Hellickson (10-8, 3.80 ERA) as he will be looked to as the stopper, facing a winless Aaron Blair of Atlanta (0-6, 8.23 ERA).