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Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 1

May 24, 2012, 1:45 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Ian Desmond tags out Hunter Pence on a stolen-base attempt.

Game in a nutshell: Seeking their first sweep of a three-game series this season for the ninth time, the Nationals once again came up short. And this one stung a little more because of the man on the mound for the Phillies: Cole Hamels. A couple of weeks removed from his headline-making, suspension-inducing start at Nationals Park, the left-hander dominated the NL East leaders. Hamels carried a no-hitter into the sixth and departed after eight scoreless. Edwin Jackson tried to keep things close but was done in by some early struggles and wound up taking the loss. Adam LaRoche delivered a solo homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth, but it was too little, too late. On this night, Hamels rose above the rest.

Hitting lowlight: Tough to find highlights when you're completely shut down by the opposition. The Nationals did squat against Hamels for five innings, managing only three walks and no hits against the lefty. And even once they did get something going in the sixth, they found a way to not score. Danny Espinosa's leadoff double broke up the no-hitter, and Bryce Harper's single to right kept things going. But Espinosa (with third-base coach Bo Porter waving him around) tried to score and wasRead more »

  1. Doc - May 24, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Moot point obviously, but it looked like Ruiz never tagged Espi at the plate. The ump was not in the right position to judge the tag, but the ESPN announcers didn't go after the camera angles.

  2. JaneB - May 24, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    Day of rest. Take the series from the Braves. That's the new plan.I don't think I've ever seen someone play as hard as the Kid does, every play, every base running opportunity. It is still early, but I really can't recall someone who was going at 125% all the time. And it isn't even playoffs yet,

  3. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Barves lost, the Reds are on a tear. We have a day off tomorrow, they don't. Worst case we will be in a "virtual tie" for first when we get to ATL. Rox somehow beat the Fish. Still waiting for the Mets to be the division doormat, as projected. Rest up, boys, especially ALR and RZ.

  5. Bigfish - May 24, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    Hitting lowlight: failing to get Flores in from third with NOBODY OUT.

  6. Drew - May 24, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Pence and Hamels are really good — no shame in that.The Nats are 26-18 and 3-3 in this tough stretch with 27 games to play.A guy on the radio is asking what kind of impact bat the Nats might add. Um, Michael Morse?Now for the good news: Stras and Gio will go in Atlanta.In Hagerstown tonight Skole clubbed his 10th homer and Alex Meyer gave up one earned over five, striking out eight.

  7. Fear and Ignorance - May 24, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Just looked at Ryan Zimmerman's hit chart…only 5 outfield hits to LF this entire year (and only a handful of outs). Everything is to RF and CF. They are not going to get the production they need from him if this continues. Maybe they should hit him 2nd when Morse gets back. That would give them a 2-3-4-5-6 of Zimmerman, Harper, Morse, LaRoche, Desmond and provide him with a little protection so maybe he gets challenged on the inner half a little more. I think pitchers are willing to let him single to right vs. the alternative…at least until he starts to get driven in from the basepaths.

  8. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 24, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    I had thought of batting Zim in front of harper, and wasn't sure it was not a good plan.I see Eck won the battle with Davey over aggressive or passive approach tonight. With hamels just like Halliday the aggressive approach is always better. Howmany times did we not swing at strikes (especially third strikes).? Too many.Against wild pitcher Patience is workable, against pitchers around the plate not so good.The 9th inning, Zim take strike 1 swings at strike two and takes strike 3, Desi with 3 balls swings at ball 4 to cause strike 2 and lets strike 3 just go on by. You got to be aggresive against good pitchers.Jrod what can I say. best part about his performance was Popplebon lost his save opportunity.

  9. Section 222 - May 24, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    I don't think I've ever seen someone play as hard as the Kid does, every play, every base running opportunity. It is still early, but I really can't recall someone who was going at 125% all the time. And it isn't even playoffs yet.I totally agree. As Charlie Manuel said after seeing him for the first time, he makes other players look bad. It's amazing what you can make happen if you play 125%, or even 100%, all the time. Tagging up on two fly balls on which others would have trotted back to the base was just the latest example. He runs out every ground ball full tilt. Since when has the Face of the Franchise done that? Even Espi, who worked just about as hard during his first September call up, only kind of runs out his grounders now. Flores wouldn't have had the wind knocked out of him if he hadn't watched his fly ball go into the corner before starting to really run. Harper is showing everyone how the game is supposed to be played. Guess that's called "old school."

  10. Bigfish - May 24, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    I have lost count of the number of times RZim looks at fastball strikes right down the middle. He did it twice tonight. What's he looking for? Is he guessing — & guessing wrong?

  11. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    Doc, I believe Ruiz got Danny on the elbow, from the replays on MASN.

  12. Sue Dominus - May 24, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    Just looked at Ryan Zimmerman's hit chart…only 5 outfield hits to LF this entire year (and only a handful of outs). Everything is to RF and CF. They are not going to get the production they need from him if this continuesZimmerman is a right-handed power hitter. You want him hitting to right and center, not pulling the ball to left. Harper even has a word for it – oppo boppo.

  13. Section 222 - May 24, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    Does Papelbon get a save because after the ALR homer it was a 3 run game?

  14. Dryw Loves the Nats - May 24, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    As much as I would have loved to have swept the Phillies, I would rather win 2 of 3 all season long (winning percentage .666) than sweep half the series and be swept the other half (winning percentage .500) And, no, I'm not saying that the Nats are going to win 2 of every 3 games (they've already ruled that out)….but I am saying that the lack of series sweeps is not nearly as dispiriting this year as it would have been 3 years ago!! GYFNG!!! Take'em in Atlanta!

  15. Gonat - May 24, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    We are spoiled by our 3 Aces so when EJax and Detwiler look "normal" it becomes frustrating. Still was a quality start by definition.If the Nats score 5 runs, Nats win the game. At some point this year the Nats batters have to pick up their pitchers when they aren't throwing Aces.

  16. Gonat - May 24, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    Section 222 said… Does Papelbon get a save because after the ALR homer it was a 3 run game? May 23, 2012 11:14 PM _____________________________To answer you in great detail, NO

  17. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 24, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    You know who else runs every groundball out?Desi. Always has.

  18. Gonat - May 24, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    Sue Dominus said… Just looked at Ryan Zimmerman's hit chart…only 5 outfield hits to LF this entire year (and only a handful of outs). Everything is to RF and CF. They are not going to get the production they need from him if this continuesZimmerman is a right-handed power hitter. You want him hitting to right and center, not pulling the ball to left. Harper even has a word for it – oppo boppo. May 23, 2012 11:07 PM __________________________That isn't true at all. The good hitters hit the ball where its pitched. Zim hits his RF balls on pitches on the outer part of the plate and the balls down the middle to CF and the inside pitches are the ones you pull to LF.If you have been watching, they aren't pitching Zim inside much this season. Its called scouting.That Grand Slam walk-off against the Phillies last year was an inside pitch that Zim pulled. That is vintage Zim when they come inside on him.

  19. NatsNut - May 24, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    You know, I noticed this and wondered if that's what Davey was doing. 3 times in one week I noticed someone coming up to bat again after someone was caught stealing with 2 outs and it stood out because I hadn't recalled seeing that before. Plus Adam LaRoche was one and Flores was the other. For those guys to be stealing is already an anomaly, but with 2 outs? It had to be on purpose. Cool, but would we really hand the other team an out to start an at-bat from scratch again? TheNatsMovement said…Davey Johnson ran the catcher, so Harper could lead off the next inning, because harper was having a bad at bat. That is quick and smart thinking.

  20. Dryw Loves the Nats - May 24, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Sunshine, thanks for noting Ian's natitude on grounders. He may make some almost inconceivably boneheaded decisions (on the basepaths and at the plate), but everything he does is motivated by solid hustle.

  21. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Since Papelbon came in at the begginning of the inning with a 4 run lead nothing could occur where he got the save. Now had someone come in and got the last out after he gave up the home, that person would get the save.

  22. m20832 - May 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Detweiler, Stras, and Gio coming up! Let's take the series from the Braves!GYFNG!!!

  23. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    TheNatsMovement said…Davey Johnson ran the catcher, so Harper could lead off the next inning, because harper was having a bad at bat. That is quick and smart thinking. I don't like to call names, but that is … not well thought-out. With 2 outs, what's the worst Harper could do? Make an out and end the inning. So making an out and ending the inning gets you…Harper batting with an even count, but no one on base ahead of him. Net loss.You only get 27 outs. They are precious.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 56 44 --
ATLANTA 55 48 2.5
MIAMI 49 53 8.0
NEW YORK 49 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 45 58 12.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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