Final: Nationals 2, Phillies 0
After a let-down performance to start off the day, the Philadelphia Phillies needed a pick-me-up to regain their confidence and give themselves a chance to win the series against the Washington Nationals in the second half of a day-night double-header. They didn’t get that.
Phillies starter Jake Arrieta did all he could to keep his team in it but in the end, the Phillies were shut out by Max Scherzer and the gory bruise under his eye. The 2-0 loss was their third straight and 10th overall in the month of June.
This time around, the Nationals got off to an early lead. With two outs in the second, it seemed as though Arrieta was going to get out of the inning comfortably after surrendering a lead off walk to cleanup hitter Juan Soto and getting Matt Adams to ground into a double play. That didn’t prove to be the case as Brian Dozier, who homered in Game 1 of the doubleheader, caught a middle-in sinker over the plate and tucked it over the foul pole for a solo home run:
Brian Dozier hasn’t had a great season, but he’s raked against the Phillies in 2019. pic.twitter.com/JFcZGuIIEg
— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) June 19, 2019
The Phillies offense was unable to generate much through the middle innings. The hope tonight was that Scherzer, who broke his nose during batting practice before yesterday’s postponed matchup, wouldn’t be as locked in as he normally is. Instead, Scherzer wore his black and blue eye with pride and carved up the struggling Phillies lineup. He struck out seven through five innings and his slider seemed virtually unhittable. Even though the Phillies led the game in hits at that point, it seemed as though the one-run deficit the team faced was insurmountable with the way Scherzer was pitching.
The team’s best chance at getting to Scherzer came in the seventh. Cesar Hernandez began with a lead-off double. The next two batters, Brad Miller and Andrew Knapp, both became strikeout victims. With two outs, Kapler opted to have J.T. Realmuto pinch-hit for Arrieta. Realmuto, who came in three for 39 in his career against Scherzer, struck out to end both the inning and the threat.
Juan Nicasio pitched in relief of Arrieta and delivered a scoreless seventh inning. In the eighth, the returning Pat Neshek was called upon to pitch. It was his first appearance on the mound since May 23rd in Chicago, where he gave up two home runs. He gave up another this time around. The solo shot to left center field off the bat of Victor Robles extended the Nationals lead to two:
HUGE! Victor Robles' homer doubles the Nats' lead. pic.twitter.com/n3hPrFOvfa
— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) June 20, 2019
A couple batters later, Neshek was lifted from the game after suffering what appears to be a hamstring injury. J.D. Hammer came into the game with a 2-0 count to Trea Turner and proceeded to walk him. After walking the next batter Adam Eaton, he was able to get Anthony Rendon to ground out to first and keep the deficit at two.
In the top of the ninth, Nats closer Sean Doolittle came in to seal the deal. Hoskins, Jay Bruce and Cesar Hernandez proved to be no match for the hard throwing left-hander and once again, the Phillies bats came up empty despite a brilliant pitching performance from their starter. The team will get another chance to break out of their slump before heading back to Philadelphia when they face Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals again Thursday night, weather permitting, of course.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
The story remained the same for both Zach Eflin and Jake Arrieta in this day-night doubleheader. Both pitchers did exactly what they needed to do to keep the team in the game. The Phillies bats, however, didn’t do their part and another great starting pitching performance was wasted.
Without regarding the final score, it’s important to note some positive from Arrieta’s performance. He sat down nine straight Washington hitters to end his outing. His sinker movement was impressive, something that was expected of him given six days of rest. Arrieta also got the majority of his outs on the ground, with 10 of his 18 outs coming via the ground ball. This is a staple to Arrieta’s game and if can string together a few of these starts in a row, it’ll be welcome to a starting rotation that hasn’t had much in the way of stablility in 2019.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Max Scherzer
Mad Max was it again. After 117 pitches, he left the game with 10 strikeouts and no earned runs.
Oddly enough, his numbers against the Phillies before tonight were not that great. He sported 5.65 ERA in 18 career starts against the Phillies, but tonight, that all didn’t seem to matter. With a broken nose and all, he took his game to another level against a struggling Phillies lineup. That’s twice in one day that the Phils were completely shut down by Nats starting position. With Scherzer, Corbin and Strasburg and the helm of this rotation, it would be crazy to completely rule them out of the National League East race.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Thursday June 20th at 7:05 P.M. vs. Washington Nationals @ Nationals Park
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- SportsRadio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- ‘The Phillies Got A Gem:’ Former Coaches Laud First-Round Pick Bryson Stott
- Steering Clear Of Charlie Morton Appears To Have Been A Major Mistake By Phillies
- Former Phillie Carlos Santana Is Having A Bounce-Back Season In 2019
- Hector Neris Has Used His Elite Pitch To Become The Rock Of The Phillies Bullpen
- Flashback: The Time Gabe Kapler Had To Be Pinch-Run For In The Middle Of A Home Run