Sep 14, 2013, 3:06 PM EDT
The Nationals enter Saturday’s game winners of seven straight, but it will be quite the challenge to make it eight. Pitching for the Phillies is Cole Hamels (7-13, 3.45) who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last two months. In his last nine starts dating back to July 26 Hamels has a 2.01 ERA with 60 strikeouts and nine walks.
Hamels faced Washington just two starts ago, in Philly, and allowed just one run through seven innings. It was one of the few losses the Nats have suffered lately as since they’ve won eight of their last nine games.
Pitching for Washington is another stellar lefty in Gio Gonzalez (10-6, 3.31). Gonzalez hasn’t been too shabby lately either, he’s allowed just one run over his last 21 2/3 innings.
Gio also faced the Phillies just two starts ago and took the win after giving up one run through 5 2/3. He has earned the victory in each of his last three outings.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game…
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Sunny, 70 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
1B Tyler Moore
2B Anthony Rendon
LHP Gio Gonzalez
CF Cesar Hernandez
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
C Carlos Ruiz
1B Darin Ruf
3B Cody Asche
LF Freddy Galvis
RF John Mayberry
LHP Cole Hamels
HP Jim Joyce
1B Jeff Nelson
2B Jim Wolf
3B Ed Hickox
7:01 p.m. – D.C. Washington just rocked the house with his rendition of the national anthem and we are minutes away from first pitch.
7:13 p.m. – It was a quick start for Gio who set down the Phillies in order in the top of the first. He got Hernandez to fly out to right field, Rollins to strike out swinging and Utley to pop up in foul territory to Zimmerman. Gio threw 15 pitches.
7:24 p.m. – The Nats jumped out to an early lead once again, striking for a run on Hamels in the first. Span led off with a single, taking the second pitch he saw to center field. That extends his hitting streak to 25 games. He stole second for his 14th theft of the year and took third on a wild pitch. Werth then hit a sac fly to center to bring him home. 1-0 Nats as Hamels threw 14 pitches.
7:33 p.m. – The top of the second saw the Phillies get a man on third, but no runs across. Asche got on with a two-out walk and got in scoring position on a Galvis single. Mayberry then grounded out to Zimmerman at third to end the frame. Gio has 34 pitches so far.
7:42 p.m. – No runs for the Nats in the bottom of the second, even with Rendon reaching second base. He walked and was moved over on a sac bunt by Gonzalez. The bunt made it two outs, however, and a Span groundout to Utley at second ended the inning. Hamels has tossed 29 pitches.
7:48 p.m. – Another scoreless fram for Gio in the top of the third as Rollins grounded into a double play for the second and third outs. Hernandez reached on a bunt single before Rollins made the GIDP. Gio threw just seven pitches in the inning.
8:00 p.m. – The Nats got two men in scoring position against Hamels in the bottom of the third, but couldn’t cash in. Werth got them started with a one-out walk and Desmond promptly singled to join him on base. A wild pitch moved both runners over with one out. Harper hit a groundball to Rollins at short that induced a tag on Desmond and Ramos then struck out to end the inning. It may be looked back as a lost opportunity as Hamels likely won’t give them many more chances. Still 1-0 Nats as the fourth inning is up next.
8:09 p.m. – Gio is now through four scoreless after the Phillies only got one man on in the top of the fourth. Ruiz doubled with one out but never advanced past seond as Ruf flew out to left field and Asche struck out swinging. Gio has thrown 56 pitches.
8:14 p.m. – Three up, three down as Hamels puts in his quickest inning of the night. He got Moore to ground out and Rendon to pop up, then Gio to strike out swinging on a 78 mph curveball. Hamels has thrown 58 pitches after needing only eight in the bottom of the fourth.
8:28 p.m. – After four strong innings from Gonzalez, the Nats lefty gave up four runs in the fifth. Mayberry hit a solo home run with one out to left field to tie it. Then, with the bases loaded and two outs, Ruiz doubled over Werth’s head in right field to clear the bases. It’s now 4-1 Phillies with Span set to lead off the bottom of the fifth.
8:45 p.m. – Span led off with a single, his second hit of the game, and stole twice to reach third. This Hamels guy though, he’s pretty good. The Phillies lefty got Zimmerman to ground out then struck out both Werth and Desmond swinging. Desmond ended the inning chasing a high fastball. Still 4-1 Phillies.
8:54 p.m. – Gio got through the sixth with no runs allowed, but the Phillies did make it interesting. Galvis and Mayberry both singled and were moved into scoring position on a Hamels bunt. Hernandez, however, went down swinging to end the inning. It’s 4-1 Phils as Gio has thrown 98 pitches. Ian Krol is warming in the bullpen, Harper up next.
9:06 p.m. – A quick inning for the Nats at the plate, despite Ramos reaching on a single to right field. Krol will now take over with Rollins due up.
9:21 p.m. – The Phillies put another one on the board in the seventh on a RBI single by Utley that scored Rollins. Rollins led off with a double off Krol and reached third on a wild pitch. Then came the Utley hit. Erik Davis took over and got three outs, but it’s now 5-1 Phillies.
9:48 p.m. – Finally some life from the Nats’ offense. It’s now a 5-4 game as the Nats struck for three in the bottom of the seventh. They got to Hamels with three singles to start the inning from Hairston, Span and Zim. Desmond then hit a run home on a sac fly to center off Justin De Fratus to make the second out. A Harper bloop single to brought home two more runs and cut the lead to one. Ramos then struck out looking on a curveball from Cesar Jimenez, a pitch that may have been inside. It was a close call by home plate umpire Jim Joyce.
10:00 p.m. – Tyler Clippard gave the Nats a perfect inning in the top of the eighth and Chad Tracy will now bat for Tyler Moore. Still 5-4 Phillies.
10:10 p.m. – No runs for the Nats in the bottom of the eighth. They did see a man get on and into scoring position, though. Tracy walked and was replaced by Jeff Kobernus as a pinch-runner. Kobernus then moved to second on a sac bunt by Rendon. Steve Lombardozzi flew out to left field and Span grounded out to end the inning. 5-4 Phillies still as Xavier Cedeno will pitch the top of the ninth.
10:20 p.m. – Cedeno allowed a hit, but was bailed out by Ryan Mattheus who induced a double play after replacing him. The Nats will now face Jonathan Papelbon down a run with Zimmerman, Werth and Desmond due up.
10:34 p.m. – The comeback falls short as Ramos grounds out to end the game. Here is my instant analysis: http://natsinsider.com/2013/09/14/instant-analysis-phillies-5-nats-4-2/
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
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.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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