Final Score: Nationals 2, Phillies 1
Barry Bonds to the San Francisco Giants and Randy Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks are probably the two best free-agent signings in MLB history, but Max Scherzer reminded the Philadelphia Phillies Friday that he’s probably No. 3 in the discussion.
Despite another excellent performance from Zack Wheeler Friday, the Phillies dropped the first game of a three-game set with the Nationals because they were unable to solve Scherzer. (Travis Jankowski getting caught in between second and third base with no outs in the ninth also contributed, it’s fair to say.)
A seven-time All-Star, Scherzer strengthened his candidacy for another trip to the midsummer classic by limiting the Phillies to just one run over 7 2/3 Friday, a stark contrast from the 17 that the Phillies put up Cincinnati the last time that they played.
Scherzer, who will turn 37 next month, is in the final year of a seven-year/$210 million contract. During his time with the Nationals, Scherzer has won two National League Cy Young Awards and helped the franchise to win their first World Series title. If the Nationals – who are just 24-30 after the win – trade Scherzer before the July 30 deadline, there won’t be too many upset in the Phillies organization.
- In the bottom of the first inning, Rhys Hoskins crushed a foul ball off of Max Scherzer, before skying a ball to the warning track that was put away by Nationals left fielder Kyle Schwarber.
- Alec Bohm recorded the game’s first hit in the home half of the third inning, leading off with an infield single. Ronald Torreyes followed with what looked to be an extra-base hit, only for Victor Robles to make a tremendous catch in the right-center field gap:
- The Nationals got on the board in the top of the fourth inning when Josh Bell hit a ball into no-man’s-land between Torreyes and Andrew McCutchen. The ball dropped for the Nationals first hit off of Zack Wheeler, and it allowed Trea Turner, who had walked to begin the inning, to score.
- It didn’t take the Phillies long to even the score, though. After leading off the inning with a single, Jean Segura stole second base. Following a strikeout from Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto brought Segura home with a single into center field.
- A 397-foot opposite-field home run off the bat of Juan Soto allowed the Nationals to retake the lead in the top of the sixth inning. The solo shot was Soto’s 11th career home run at Citizens Bank Park, coming in just his 80th at-bat:
- Andrew McCutchen doubled into the left field corner with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Phillies were unable to bring him home to tie the game, with Bohm striking out and Torreyes popping up to strand McCutchen.
- The Phillies appeared to have a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth after Rhys Hoskins doubled to lead off the inning. Joe Girardi sent Travis Jankowski in to pinch run, and received disastrous results. On a pitch in the dirt to J.T. Realmuto, Jankowski thought about going for third base, only to decide the ball didn’t kick away from catcher Alex Avila enough for him to advance. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Jankowski’s indecisiveness led to him getting caught in a rundown between second and third and ultimately retired:
- Realmuto would be retired by Daniel Hudson, before Brad Hand came in and got Brad Miller to fly out to end the game.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- Max Scherzer turned in a vintage performance Friday evening, holding the Phillies to one run across 7 2/3 innings. The Phillies managed just five hits off of the three-time Cy Young Award winner, who racked up nine strikeouts.
- Zack Wheeler went 7 1/3 innings Friday, limiting the Nationals to just five hits and two runs while striking out eight. For Wheeler, it was the seventh time in his last eight starts that he’s pitched seven or more innings. On the season, Wheeler’s ERA now sits at 2.51, making him likely to receive his first All-Star Game nod.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Saturday, June 5 with Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park
- 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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