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Instant analysis: Phillies 3, Nats 2

Sep 2, 2013, 10:11 PM EDT

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Game in a nutshell: A 9-game road trip for the Nationals opened with a big-time pitching showdown between Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels, and the matchup lived up to the billing. Each ace allowed only one run on two hits, though neither factored into the decision, departing with the game tied 1-1. The Nationals took the lead in the top of the eighth against the Phillies bullpen, with Scott Hairston’s sacrifice fly scoring Anthony Rendon. But the back end of the Nats bullpen couldn’t hold the slim lead. Tyler Clippard gave up the tying and go-ahead runs during a two-out rally that began with a walk of Cesar Hernandez, continued with an RBI double by Jimmy Rollins and was completed by an RBI single by Carlos Ruiz, with Rollins scoring just ahead of Bryce Harper’s slightly off-line throw to the plate. The Nationals got the tying runner to third base in the ninth against Jonathan Papelbon but couldn’t get him home, so this road trip got started on a decided down note. Coupled with the Reds’ earlier win against the Cardinals, the Nationals dropped a game in the Wild Card standings; they now trail by 7 1/2 games with only 25 to play.

Hitting highlight: They had to scratch and claw for the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, but the Nationals did so with some solid at-bats against the Phillies bullpen. Anthony Rendon got it started with a single off Justin DeFratus. Pinch-hitter Chad Tracy then drew a walk, setting the table for the hobbled Harper with two on and one out. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg countered with lefty Cesar Jimenez, leaving Harper in an eerily familiar situation. Unlike Sunday night, he didn’t bunt this time. Instead, he showed the patience to draw a five-pitch walk and load the bases for Hairston. With right-hander B.J. Rosenberg ready in the pen, Sandberg stuck with his lefty, and Hairston got the job done. He lofted a flyball to left-center, just deep enough to score Rendon via an off-line throw from converted infielder Hernandez. That appeared to make Hairston the game’s hero, but that storyline was wiped out in the bottom of the inning.

Pitching highlight: Though the results were fantastic, Strasburg actually wasn’t completely on top of his game. His fastball command was spotty, leading to an inflated pitch count. Fortunately, Strasburg’s curveball was as sharp as it has ever been. And he kept going to it in key spots. Of his 10 strikeouts, eight came via Uncle Charlie. The Phillies certainly didn’t make solid contact against Strasburg. Their only two hits off him each came on broken bats: Carlos Ruiz’s RBI single in the fourth and old pal Roger Bernadina’s infield single in the fifth. Perhaps most notable about Strasburg tonight: He surpassed his previous career-high for innings pitched. He’s now at 164 for the season.

Key stat: Ryan Zimmerman has 75 career plate appearances against Cole Hamels, making Hamels the pitcher Zimmerman has faced the most and Zimmerman the batter Hamels has faced the most.

Up next: Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the second game of this series, looking to improve to 5-1 in his career against the Phillies, who send rookie right-hander Ethan Martin to the mound at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.

  1. David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    This just isn’t our year. I’ll keep hoping until we’re mathematically eliminated, but nothing goes right for us in 2013. Nothing.

  2. nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Milking a 1 run lead as often as the Nats have done is a recipe for disaster. Clip didnt get it done however the Nats had bases loaded and only pushed across 1 run.

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Ramos swing at a ball… But the Blue called both the inside and the outside.. Changed the at bat…
    But if Clip isn’t given the green light becuz his past has been good yet in this moment he wasn’t… Then the game is different…

    BP and DJ and his questionable management let us down…

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      I disagree,MrsB. Guys playing the game for us didn’t come through.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        At the end of the day… Span should have PR for Tracy ( you don’t know how that affects Ryan’s at bat)… And Clip should have been pulled when you saw him get behind 2 damn batters and he walked the first and then served the other guy with a damn hit that was lucky to not be a HR…then he gives the meatball to the other guy…

        It’s the decision that matter in the moment and those 2 are where…. He certainly contributed to this lost…

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Great frame by the Phils C though….

  5. rogieshan - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Story all year: too many ABs given away with RISP.

  6. nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Davey had his head up his backside again. Playing Laroche and sitting Tyler. Not using Span to pinch run as GoSM pointed out probably puts Span on 3rd after Rendon tagged and scored. As MrsB said with the larger bullpen maybe you pull Clip as the win is larger than hurt feelings. Then you have Davey not getting up Jerry Meals grill with those strike calls against Wilson Ramos. Stick up for your players and keep the umps honest. This passive BS gets you nowhere.

  7. David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Davey didn’t lose this game. I don’t understand why anybody would want Stammen, Davis, Abad, or Krol in there instead of Clippard. Clippard has gotten out of that jam hundreds of times, like NL said. You want Clippard in that spot. He got beat this time. It happens to the best of them.

    The problem is that we don’t have time and everything is magnified right now.

    • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      Did Davey even have time to warm up Stammen? Especially after the first two guys were out? Even with stalling Stammen takes longer to warm up than some guys. Same with Roark. You can’t bring these guys who used to be starters (and can work multiple innings) into the game so fast as you can the one-inning types.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      What the hell does the past have to do with it… We are talking about right now… It was OBVIOUS that Clippard didnt have it… Yet he was allowed to stay in…

      Storen was pulled after 2 hitters when he was seen he didnt have it… Clip should have been Too..

      You have a larger BP, you can use the match up advantage… Use them

      Oh and did you see Stammen get the next guy out… Yeah becuz he did…

      • David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        Clipaprd got the first 2 outs pretty quickly. It wasn’t clear he didn’t have it until later in the inning.

        Again, hindsight is 20/20.

    • aflymoses - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      The issue wasn’t putting in or sticking with Clippard, it was taking Strasburg out after 6. He was dominating, has been comfortably pitching past 6 all year, and our bullpen has been a liability for months. If you weren’t going to move him up in the order after only pitching 2 inning last game, you have to let him go the whole way tonight.

      He couldn’t take out Clippard after Rollins/Utley, even though he was at ~30 pitches, because no one in the bullpen is trustworthy. But that was only an issue because he got into the bullpen before he needed too.

      Also, while typing this, they started interviewing Davey and Stras. And they’re saying he was sweating too much, and it was affecting his grip, keeping him from quick innings. WHAT? Who cares if the innings are quick. He had been completely dominant, and had only thrown 100 pitches. At first I thought he was taken out cuz he was gassed or some other physical ailment we couldn’t see, but if they’re telling the truth, and it’s because Davey thought he was too SWEATY, then I’ve given up all hope on this team. Good god.

      • David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:04 PM

        You misheard. Strasburg said he was gassed. He said he thinks he overcompensated during his workouts to try and make up for the 2 inning game.

    • Sonny G 10 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      So true, David. Can’t fault Clip. He has been great this year.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        But so what if Clip has been great this year… In this game, he didnt have it and should have been pulled…

        See what happened when DJ finally pulled Cl and Stammen came in… He ended the inning… Clip didnt have it and should have been pulled after letting 2 men get on base after being ahead of them and then falling behind…

  8. secretwasianman - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    Ump sucks but pathetic AB by Ramos and Rendon. Bad teams always find a way to lose. And they did. Please sit AL Ramos Rendon. 4 and 3 against the 3 bottom feeders of the east. That’s terrible. Nats don’t deserve the playoffs. They don’t even deserve to watch the playoffs

  9. Joe Seamhead - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Give JRoll credit. That was superb base running on the go ahead run.Ramos might’ve been a little quicker on trying to make the tag.

    • Sonny G 10 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      Yea, Joe. Zuk might have been able to make that tag. This is what we have to live with in order to have Ramos’ power at the plate.

      • aflymoses - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:52 PM

        (A) that throw, while strong and as good as you can hope for, was on the wrong side of the plate. There was nothing Ramos could do. (B) If you think Zuk could pick a throw and tag a guy at home, then you clearly didn’t watch him this year. He messed up that play more times this year than Ramos has (including the last time they played against Hamels in Philly, if I’m recalling correctly).

  10. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    Need games that are not 1-run games. This guy tomorrow has a 6+ ERA. Get six runs, then Gio–don’t walk guys. Then we have Doc, who doesn’t look to be the old Doc. Take the next two, boys. It ain’t over til it’s over.

    • David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      We better hope the Cardinals win the next 2 against the Reds. I just have trouble imagining playoffs right now. I’m as optimistic as anyone, but time is running out. 25 games. It’s been done, but the Reds are in the toughest part of their schedule RIGHT NOW. After this next week or so, it gets easy for them. We have to make up ground now. We had a shot tonight and wasted it. We can only keep doing that for so long.

      • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:28 PM

        You could look at it that way, but I don’t. We needed 2 of 3 from the Fillies and this was the one I expected to lose. Yes, there was a chance, but Hamels could easily have gone CG or we would have had to play extra innings in that humidity.

        I’m wondering if Clip had too many days off.

  11. secretwasianman - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    These idiot announcers keep saying the schedule favors the Nats. Again 4 and 3 against the bottom 3. NATS SUCK!!! Hurry up and lose already and end the misery.

  12. secretwasianman - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    No more ALR and Ramos for a while please.

  13. secretwasianman - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Lost 3 of 4 to mets and Phil’s. that is the level we are at. Just saw the play of Ramos throwing and hitting the bat. LOL.

  14. natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Not sure what was more uncomfortable, watching that one slip away or stepping on the millipede with my bare foot earlier. Yeah, I think I’m gonna go with door number two. But yuck, either way.

  15. natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    (Door number two made me scream, and the other one just made me sigh, so there’s that.)

  16. David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    NL, 2/3 is only acceptable against the Phils if you think you can sweep the Marlins. The problem is that the Marlins have Jose Fernandez pitching against us. We need to go 5/6 on this trip against the Phils and Marlins. Losing the first one isn’t a good way to start.

    But yes, it is true we have pitching matchups in our favor tomorrow and Wednesday.

    • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      My strategy against Fernandez is the same as against Harvey. Remember, we won two of Harvey’s starts, if I recall.

      Don’t try to beat him at his own game. Wait him out. Run up his pitch count, they are not going to let him go 120 pitches. Get to their bullpen.

  17. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Philly tried to give us this game… They took Hamels out, which I didnt understand…. And we didnt take advantage…

  18. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Also, need to stop talking about how “easy” the schedule is. That may be so, but, they are still major-league teams. So are we. There is no reason to expect we can’t win against ATL, STL and ARZ. Same for the Reds, who lost two to the Rox; and Arizona, who just lost to, excuse me, the Giants and the Blue Jays.

  19. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Difficult is not the same as impossible.

  20. naterialguy - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    I would have loved to have seen Suzuki in that second to last at bat. He didn’t hit for average, but man he would have some clutch hits for us.

  21. nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    When are they going to rest Ramos. 15 games in a row. As mentioned he has lost a lot of weight and zapped alot of his power. Davey doing the same to him as he did to Zuk.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      *snickers* I said the exact same thing… DJ wearing him down… He has been ineffective…

  22. David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    I can’t get on Ramos for the last AB. Yeah, you should be protecting the plate, but you shouldn’t be swinging at balls that are CLEARLY outside. If he hits that, it’s a double play ball and the game is over right then and there.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      Didnt Ramos swing at a ball that was outside the zone (ie a ball)…. I bet the blue figured if he swung at that, then he had to call that…

      But the blue was calling the inside and the outside, which was wrong…

      Gotta give it to the Phil’s C, he was framing the hell out of those pitches…

      • nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        He swung at the slider when he thought it was a fastball. Thats Papelbons best pitch.

  23. Joe Seamhead - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Three K’s by Hairson and a sac fly.Sorry, but I don’t start him unless somebody is hurt.Span should be playing, especially the way that he’s been playing lately.Just my opinion.

    Nice to see ALR get a hit in the 9th.

    • nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      Agreed. Span has been hot. Hairston just isnt getting it done. He made 1 productive out in a spot where the Nats had a chance to blow the game open as Davey said.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      I can’t remember if I said it on this board or another but I didnt like him batting 2nd… And I don’t like sacrificing the D for the offense…

      But for Hairston to hit lefties… I mean Span has been on a roll and if Harp is given a chance to work himself out against LHPs, then isn’t Span…

  24. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Suzuki is over there hitting for the A’s. (Small sample size, of course). The best use of Suzuki/Ramos seemed to be at the beginning of the season when Davey was going about 50-50 with them.

    When Ramos was injured Suzuki got overused, and tired, and put all he could into receiving. That’s to be expected. But when Ramos came back, it seems like Suzuki went out of favor with Davey, and Davey didn’t go back to 50-50 (or 60-40, or anything close). With Suzuki not being used, Rizzo traded him and I don’t blame him–if Davey’s not going to use him, might as well let him go.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      Which is why I don’t understand why Ramos keeps playing every day… Thought we should have seen Solano (isn’t that who they called up)…

      And we see that Ramos hasn’t been as effective at the plate either since DJ has used him every day…

  25. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Also, I understand waiting on the playoffs for some of our teams, but Syracuse is not in the playoffs. Why wasn’t Perez brought up right away?

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      I said this earlier….

      Mrsb loves the Nats – Sep 2, 2013 at 9:22 PM
      They should put in Bernadina…. Or Eury… Oh wait…

  26. David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 13s
    Davey: Harper is battling a hip injury. Davey hadn’t been informed Harper was getting treatment. Harper says he’s ok. “There’s a month left”

    • Sonny G 10 - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:25 PM

      Somebody’s head ought to roll on this one.

      • David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:27 PM

        Werth apparently refused to give Harper his glove and helmet until Harper assured him that he was okay.

  27. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    To reiterate: Deja vu all over again.

  28. David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Here are the pitches on Ramos AB:

    Awful awful awful.

    • rogieshan - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      The outcome of the at-bat was written after Ramos swung at the 2-0 pitch that was a foot outside. He was just guessing after that and Meals’ wide strike zone didn’t help. Once again, over-aggressiveness at the plate in a clutch situation killed us.

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