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Instant analysis: Nats 9, Phillies 6

Sep 3, 2013, 10:44 PM EDT

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Game in a nutshell: This won’t go down as the prettiest game the Nationals have played this season. But it’s a win, and at this point that’s the only thing that matters. Gio Gonzalez battled wildness (three walks, two wild pitches) and poor defense behind him (three errors). Wilson Ramos, starting his 12th consecutive game behind the plate, clubbed a 3-run homer. Corey Brown later added a solo blast in his first big-league at-bat of the season. In between, the Nationals took advantage of nine walks, five wild pitches and a balk by Phillies pitchers. They tried to make things interesting but ultimately hung on and won a game they had to win after the Reds also were victorious, 1-0 over the Cardinals. Thus the deficit in the NL Wild Card race remains 7 1/2 games with only 24 to play.

Hitting highlight: Can the Nationals’ hitting highlight actually be the Phillies’ pitching lowlight? On this night, yes. The Nats scored two runs in the top of the fifth, but all they had to do was stand in the batter’s box and keep the bat on their shoulder. Phillies pitchers issued four walks in the inning, including three in a row, two of them with the bases loaded, each on four pitches. Sure, it required some semblance of patience by the Nationals lineup. But let’s not give them too much credit here.

Pitching lowlight: Though he pitched well enough to qualify for the win, Gonzalez would be the first to admit he didn’t pitch well. The left-hander was all over the place, piling up his pitch count early and forcing himself to battle all night. True, four of the five runs he allowed were unearned, but he had opportunities to stop the bleeding himself and couldn’t do it. Davey Johnson left Gonzalez in as long as he could, but with his pitch count at 118 after only 5 2/3 innings, the skipper finally decided he had seen enough.

Key stat: Over his last 34 games, Denard Span has hit .338, raising his season batting average from .258 to .278.

Up next: The series concludes at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday when Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound for the Nationals in search of his league-leading 16th win. Roy Halladay, trying to salvage an injury-plagued season, starts for the Phillies.

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    I need to look at numbers to confirm but it seems to me that our pitchers tend to take whole lot of pitches to retire same number of guys than opposing pitchers do.

  2. 3on2out - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Horribly played. Horribly managed against the Phillies JV. Matheus? Really?

  3. natsfan1a - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Atta way, boys. Atta way.

  4. nats128 - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Nats have moved ahead of the DBacks with that win pending the outcome of the DBacks game.

  5. natsfan1a - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. I would have untucked, but the cat was on my lap and I didn’t want to unseat him. Yay! Nats win! UNTUCK! [thud] Oops.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    If and when we are out of contention, please shut down Harper. He seemed to be holding himself after every play on the bases.

  7. nats128 - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Wheres Julie Alexandria today

    • naterialguy - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:12 PM

      finally an intelligent comment on the boards

  8. nats6245 - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Re; the fielding (and three errors) was Casey Stengel saying “can’t anyone here play this game?”

  9. Nattydread - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Making up more than one game for every three games played — especially when the Reds are winning 1-0 gems against StL — it’s a nearly impossible task. I’m happy to watch the battle weary Nats end the season on a good note & tend their injuries ((Harper, that’s what MLB walls do).

  10. Candide - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    Yeah, a win is a win, but did anyone seriously think the team we’ve seen the last five games is going to make any kind of a stretch run?

    • Section 222 - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:18 AM

      You know my answer to that Candide. Nope.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 70 64 6.0
MIAMI 65 67 10.0
NEW YORK 62 72 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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