Final Score: Phillies 12, Nationals 6
The Nationals and Phillies are two teams with similar problems. Both are top heavy. Both lack a promising farm system. Both came into the season with high expectations only to be falling short two months in.
Both teams also struggle to get out of their own way. A costly fielding error from Jordy Mercy gave way to a seven-run fourth inning for the Phillies. Two runs came in on two bases loaded walks.
Alec Bohm was the recipient of one of those free passes. He had perhaps one of the best at-bats of his season so far. He fouled off four pitches, including three with two strikes and two that were in on his hands. He rightfully showed some emotion when ball four landed in Alex Avila’s glove.
Odúbel Herrera also doubled in his second at-bat of the inning. He ended the game with two doubles to his name. J.T. Realmuto walked twice in the inning and hit his 100th career home run in the seventh. Only three of the seven runs that the Nationals bullpen surrendered in the fourth were earned. Sunday marked the first time the Phillies have won back-to-back games since May 11-12 against the Washington Nationals in D.C.
The game was delayed for 20 minutes after the protective netting in foul territory collapsed following a Trea Turner foul ball. It has to be the most bizarre moment in a season which includes a lineup card miscue, a heated bench argument mid-game between a manager and player and a slew of horrendous mistakes and crushing defeats.
Outside of a bad throw from Realmuto, the Phillies had a relatively clean game defensively. That doesn’t mean today was a problem-free game. Vince Velasquez only lasted four innings and veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler had another poor outing. The team could be running out of patience with the 35-year-old, who made the team as a non-roster invitee and is being paid three million in 2021 with the expectation that he will be relied on to pitch important innings late in games.
Prior to today’s game, the Phillies reinstated right-handed pitcher Héctor Neris off the paternity list. Left-handed pitcher Cristopher Sánchez was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and right handers David Hale and Chase Anderson were placed on the COVID-19 IL. Sánchez made his MLB debut in the eighth and pitched an inning and a third. Unfortunately for Sánchez, he’ll always be remembered as having one of the strangest MLB debuts in the history of the sport.
The Phillies have a much-needed off day Monday and will return to action Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves. Aaron Nola is scheduled to pitch game one.
- Velasquez began the third inning by hitting two batters. On the second hit-by-pitch, the opposing pitcher Austin Voth squared to bunt and was hit in the face. Joe Ross, Saturday’s starting pitcher, came in to pinch-run for Voth.
- The Nationals eventually loaded the bases and scored a run on a Juan Soto single that just got past Bohm’s left side. That was the only run Washington scored in that inning as Velasquez struck out Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and got Starlin Castro to pop up in foul territory to Rhys Hoskins.
- Velasquez allowed back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning to two struggling hitters in Mercer and Victor Robles. Robles’ double scored Mercer and the Nats center fielder came around to score after attempting to steal third. Realmuto’s throw landed in left field and Robles scored easily. Both runs that came around to score were earned.
- The Phillies sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven runs to take a four-run lead in the fourth. All of that was summarized above.
- Brad Miller added on to the lead with a second-deck home run to right field in the sixth. It was his sixth home run of the season. He’s one away from tying Bryce Harper for third on the team in home runs.
- The Nationals came back in the sixth and scored three runs. Two runs came off a Juan Soto triple off the wall in left-center field. Kintzler left the game with an 8.50 ERA in 20 games. For context, Brandon Workman had a 6.92 ERA in 14 games with the Phillies in 2020.
- Three more runs scored for the Phillies as Realmuto’s sixth-inning three-run home run was the 100th of his career. It was the second curtain call of the day of the day as McCutchen scored his 1,000th run of his MLB career back in the fourth.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Austin Voth: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 24 pitches
The Nationals planned on having a bullpen game Sunday afternoon, with Voth pitching around three innings as part of the plan. He had to leave the game after his at-bat in the third after getting hit the face with a fastball. In two innings of work, Voth faced four batters and only allowed a walk.
Vince Velasquez: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 80 pitches
Velasquez does deserve credit for limiting the damage in the third inning to only one run. At the same time, he was the sole reason why he was in trouble in the first place. He lost his command to the bottom of the Nationals order. His lack of control had scary consequences as Voth had to leave the game after taking a fastball to the face. He was at his best when he stuck to the fastball and threw it by hitters in the first. The Phillies need him to sustain that through multiple innings as the season moves along.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: The Grounds Crew
We could give this honor to Realmuto for hitting his 100th home run. Or Miller for driving a ball into the second deck. But somehow, the netting collapsed in the later stages of an excruciatingly long game and the grounds crew came together to get it back up. All of them deserve a cold beer and a raise.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Tuesday, June 8 vs. Atlanta Braves at 7:05 pm ET
- Citizens Bank Park
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- 94 WIP
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