Final Score: Phillies 10, Nationals 1
The Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals entered Thursday heading in completely opposite directions. The Phillies had won 11 of their last 13 games, and the Nationals sat with the worst record in the National League at 23-42.
Given that — and the pitching matchup of Zack Wheeler vs. Patrick Corbin — Thursday had all the makings of a bloodbath.
That it was.
The Phillies got to Corbin for seven runs in the third inning, all of which came after a two-out, bases empty error by former Phillie César Hernández. It was more than enough for Wheeler, who was his usual self against the Nationals’ subpar offense, throwing seven stress-free innings.
The Phillies move to 33-31 on the season, the first time they are two games over .500 since they were 3-1.
Kyle Schwarber + June + Nationals Park = Dingers, plural
Kyle Schwarber wasn’t “struggling,” per se, but a 2-for-14 stretch could qualify as a mini-slump by June Kyle Schwarber standards.
Apparently, all he needed was a return to Nationals Park — where he lit the world on fire last summer, and where he hit 12 of his absurd 16 homers last June — to get back to his world-lighting ways.
The two homers were Nos. 6 and 7 of the month for Schwarber, whose 18 big flies on the season moves him into a three-way tie for tops in the National League.
He had a 1.080 OPS this month before his latest two-homer game. June Schwarber is real as ever.
You get a hit, you get a hit, you get a hit, and so forth
Runs can be unearned, but hits cannot. Every starter in the Phillies’ lineup accumulated a base knock on Thursday. It’s the first time they’ve done that this season.
Two of the Phillies’ 11 hits — and one of their three doubles — came off the bat of Nick Castellanos. He’s the Phillies’ big-ticket offseason acquisition that has not been on fire in June, hitting just .217 entering play on Thursday. And while it’s perhaps overdramatic to say the Phillies need him to get going — after all, they’re 13-2 this month regardless — his heating up certainly wouldn’t hurt. Thursday was a step in that direction.
An evening of firsts
Yairo Muñoz picked up his first Phillies hit in the eighth inning, cranking a solo home run to left. It was his first big league homer since Sept. 4, 2020.
The bottom of the inning saw another first: the Major League debut of Michael Kelly. He threw a scoreless eighth inning.
Kelly’s contract was selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday after James Norwood was designated for assignment.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Zack Wheeler: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 86 pitches
Wheeler was — once again — dominant on Thursday. Death, taxes, etc.
Given the 9-1 lead, it’s possible Wheeler would’ve been pulled earlier if not for the Phillies’ doubleheader on Friday. But alas, he didn’t lose any effectiveness late in the start, needing just nine pitches to get through a scoreless seventh. He had a single blemish on the night: a solo homer to Josh Bell, which preceded a run of eight straight outs.
He’s been on another level as of late. It’s the sixth straight start in which Wheeler went at least six innings, and his one-run outing lowered his June ERA to 1.42. That’s even better than his May mark of 1.65, which earned him National League Pitcher of the Month honors.
Patrick Corbin: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2 HR, 84 pitches
Don’t let the “earned runs” total fool you. For a second, it looked like Corbin just fell victim to shoddy Nationals defense, and he did — but it’s hard to feel particularly aggrieved when you let a two-out, bases-empty error snowball into seven runs. As has been the case many times since signing a six-year, $140 million contract with the Nationals ahead of the 2019 season, Corbin had nothing working on Thursday, and the Phillies raised his ERA to 6.59 on the season.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
Thursday was the first time the Phillies tagged an opposing pitcher for seven unearned runs in a game since 1984. The last time they got a pitcher for at least seven unearned runs and at least one earned run was 1932. Yeah, it was not Patrick Corbin’s day, nor the Nationals’ at large.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Friday, June 17 vs. Washington Nationals at Nationals Park
- 1:05 p.m. ET (Game 1)
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: Sportsradio 94 WIP, WTTM1680
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