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Instant Analysis: Nats 4, Phillies 0

Aug 3, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels on the mound, this game was billed as a pitchers duel. It did not disappoint.

Both starters were sharp all afternoon, briskly mowing down their opposing lineup. The Nationals beat the Phillies 4-0, but neither starting pitcher yielded an earned run.

Strasburg began the game by retiring seven straight and finished with seven scoreless innings, three hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts. Hamels was also perfect through the first seven before an error and a single. That single by Denard Span brought in the game’s only run and it was unearned.

Hamels took the loss despite going seven innings with zero earned on four hits and a walk. He was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth inning despite having only thrown 86 pitches on the day. That decision would backfire as the Nats added another three more runs off relievers Ken Giles and Jake Dieman in the following frame.

The Nationals earned the split against the Phillies after dropping the first two games of the series and getting a blowout victory on Saturday night. They also won their 60th game of the season, moving to 60-49 on the year. The Braves – currently three games back in the NL East – play in San Diego with a late afternoon start.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: Given the starters on the mound today, the margin for error was naturally going to be small. The Nationals got their one run against Hamels in the bottom of the third inning. Jose Lobaton reached on an error by Phillies third baseman Cody Asche, who first dropped the ball and then sailed his throw wide to the right.

Strasburg then bunted Lobaton over to second base on a well-executed sacrifice. Span was then able to single to right field, a slow line drive that gave Lobaton enough time to round third and go all the way to home. It took a little luck on the Nats’ part, given the Asche error, but they took advantage of the opportunity and made the Phillies pay for their mistake.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Strasburg has been much better at home this season and that trend continued on Sunday. The right-hander was pinpoint accurate with his fastball, consistently painting corners with 95-96 mile per hour heat. His curveball was also effective with big breaks and late life.

Three times the Phillies got a man to second base against Strasburg, but that’s as close as they would get. Strasburg finished with 99 pitches before Kevin Frandsen pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the seventh.

STREAK WATCH: Span just keeps going. The center fielder’s third inning RBI single made it 29 games now that he has reached base. That’s the longest active streak in the majors equals his hit streak of last season.

KEY STAT: Span stole his 22nd and 23rd base of the season in the bottom of the sixth. His career-high is 26, set back in 2010. This season he is on pace to finish with 35.

UP NEXT: The Nationals continue their homestand with a makeup game against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. The two teams are playing the game that was rained out on July 8. Tanner Roark (11-6, 2.74) will pitch for the Nats with former fourth overall pick Kevin Gausman (5-3, 3.70) taking the mound for Baltimore.

  1. stoatva - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    As has already been said, can we not hear any more about Strasburg’s “lack of mental toughness?”

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Agreed. And enough about Span being a lousy base runner.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Someone please explain to me… What is ‘mental toughness’?

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        Mental toughness = yelling at people on the Internet without a sense of anxiety or fear.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    Great job, fellows!

    This Word Press thing is making this site absolutely unbearable.

  3. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    Strasburg was brilliant today. He was brilliant his last time out too. That’s 1 run over his past 14 innings of work.

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    That’s the way, unh huh unh huh, we like it, unh huh unh huh….

    3 game lead… And keep do yr thang SD… Keep doing your thang…

  5. Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Can y’all believe Sori didn’t smile at LaRoche when giving him props on the Utley lineout? I mean, you could argue he owed him a blown kiss, but at least a smile was due. Terrible teammate؟

    Stras really needs to start carrying his weight؟

    And, 1 run off Hammels. Can you believe it? We should be able to wallop every ace we face؟

    No, but seriously:

    Go Nats!!

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      and no untuck
      how do you do the backward question mark

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        It wasn’t a save situation, thus no untuck.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        thx

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        dcwx61 – I just copy/paste

        The HTML code might work, too:
        ؟

        Testing, testing: ؟

        If it works, you just enter the code above in your comment where you want it to appear.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        ؟

        Got it, thanks! (and I’m not being sarcastic)

        But they asked about Souza, was that Ghost in the audience

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        Weird, it parsed the encoded entity…
        & #1567;

        But no space between ; and #

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        Sorry, no space between & and #

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        Wouldn’t know how to recognize Ghost…

      • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        LOL

  6. stoatva - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    A victory a day keeps SWM away.

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      +1 !!

  7. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Listening to Braves radio broadcast (I like Don Sutton). They said they’ve only played 3 of their past 36 games against teams over .500 and instead of gaining ground, they’ve lost ground. They were swept in those 3 games. They’re very concerned.

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      We all knew that their ridiculous pitching stats in April would come back to earth.

      They started at 17-7. Since then they’ve been 41-46

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        Whoa, that’s quite illuminating…

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        And, as Sutton noted, that’s playing a whole lotta sub .500 teams. They have a harder schedule — it sure looks like they are going to fade . . . .

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        … made worse by Fredi’s penchant to burn out his players by not giving them enough rest

        Gattis, Kimbrel last night . . .

      • therealjohnc - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:41 PM

        Braves’ season is at a crossroads. Not only have they lost six in a row on this road trip, they’ve underwhelmed ever since beating the Nats June 20 in that awful 13 inning game to take a 0.5 game lead in the East. Since then the Braves have gone 20-18. They have played five games against teams over .500 (2xNats, 3xDodgers) and lost all five. They played four games against a team near .500 (the Marlins) … and lost 3 of 4. They had a string of 29 straight games against losing teams, many against the dregs of MLB (Astros, Phillies, Mets, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Padres) and only cut one game off the Nats’ lead … which they’ve more than given back this week.

        Nats now 3.5 games up, five in the loss column. A Nats’ win tomorrow against the O’s would be huge.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      testing, maybe, we need to have an esoteric punctuation blog

      ؟

  8. stoatva - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    We gonna hear anything about Souza now?

    • stoatva - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      First MW’s heard of it, apparently. Or he’s a better actor than I give him credit for.

  9. adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Man — it sucks to get shut out twice in a row (like just what happened to Philly) — that’s really frustrating.

    FWIW, that has not happened to the Nats all year thus far . . .

  10. dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    c’mon Matt, let your hair down and relax …no wonder Sori doesn’t smile ;)

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      Matt has no hair to let down,

      • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:04 PM

        take lessons from Jhonny Holiday (recent inductee into the DC sports of hall of fame) on how to maintain a good head of hair at an advanced age

  11. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    BTW, between Asche’splay at 3B and the play of the Phillies OFers is a classic example of lousy defense driving up the pitcher’s ERA’s even though there was only one error charged.

  12. adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    FWIW, MW has no idea (at this moment) what’s going on with Souza.

  13. Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Further observations about the Word(Salad)Press:

    I think the out-of-order posts are, at least in part, posts that were responses to posts that got deleted.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      ok, let’s try this again…
      I used Peter Asselos, which was and will be deleted.

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        If I’m right, then this post will move to the bottom if your A**elos post is deleted.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:12 PM

        A$$elos is how you need to write it.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        great….Eric may be on to something with the wordpress issues

    • Candide - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      Well, WordPress is free, so i guess you get what you pay for.

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        Yeah it doesn’t particularly bother me, just observatin’

  14. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Padres pitcher delivers. 1-0 Padres.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    Padres up 1-0

  16. Candide - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Hamels took the loss despite going seven innings with zero earned on four hits and a walk.

    Yeah, well last week, Strasburg’s line against the Fish was 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 run (earned), walked 2, and he took THAT tough loss.

    So karma evens out.

  17. philipd763 - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Puzzled by todays attendance with barely 30,000 to watch classic pitching duel between two good pitchers, Hamels and Stras. Meanwhile, the Orioles drew over 35,000 for their afternoon game with the Mariners.

    • David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      We’re outdrawing the Orioles overall. Maybe they had a giveaway?

    • stoatva - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Under 30k Friday night too. Disappointing, whatever the reason.

      • secretwasianman - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        Threatening weather all weekend. it kept me home. After sitting 3 hours at the last Os game I take no chances.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        Tennis tournament and big vacation week for Washingtonians.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        Friday one of the weather channels called for 90% probability of heavy rain from 7-9 pm.We drove 60 mile round trip anyway, but wouldn’t blame anyone else for not going.

    • Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      I think the reason is the Phillies. Not the draw they used to be. Plus, no giveaways this weekend since the Nats still think the Phillies will fill the place. Just watch the Gnome sell the place out on a Tuesday night against the Mets.

      • Candide - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        Ticket prices for that game are nucking futs. The cheapest remaining cub seats are listed for twice face price on SeatGeek; most of them are over $200. Section 404 wants $30 for row H.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        I think I paid 30 dollars for 310, 5th row…. Something like that…

        I need to figure out what time I will get there… So excited!

      • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        it just about has….only a few hundred tix on stubhub

      • RPrecupjr - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        I’ll be in Section 106, row E, with mom, wife, daughter and daughter’s friend. Got our tix last week on regular ticket site, no problem.

  18. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Great at bat by Amarista… Harang already at 77 pitches in the 4th inning…

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:51 PM

      Padres up 2-0, Harang up to 90 pitches after 4.

      Tyson Ross at the plate: 1-for-1, RBI, and a walk. Who knew?

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        … and after 5 IP, Tyson Ross has thrown only 65 pitches.

  19. stoatva - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Don’t know, but suspect, that some not-regular attendees still think of Phillies series as unpleasant occasions where you don’t want to take your family.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      That’s what I was thinking… Plus, it’s the phillies…

  20. secretwasianman - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    great game by Stras. great to get insurance in the ninth. Also I loved the Presidents race. the end was great. Loved Teddys impersonation of RAY RICE> WHACK!!!!!

  21. scnatsfan - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    That’s what you want from your ace… beating a guy who pitched great. Kudos to SS and an amazing job on the mound.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      About damn time… But who goes…

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      mystery answered….could MW not possibly know about this

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      Supposedly Espinosa wasn’t available on either Fri. or Sat. due to his hand was “barking.” I’ll bet Danny goes on the DL

  22. knoxvillenat - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    San Diego up 2-0 bottom of the sixth. Hey Ghost, how do you like those Padres now?

    • stoatva - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      Don’t look now. 4 pitch lead off walk to Upton and triple by Hayward.

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      Looks like I may have spoken too soon. But the fact that the Padres have already taken two games from the Barves is good for me.

  23. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    So, tomorrow and Tuesday is going to be a traffic disaster for anyone driving to the stadium.Maine Ave area will be shut down to cars according to WTOP, along with numerous other areas. Gonna have to work to get that gnome.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      I’m so glad I live 2 metro stops away from the stadium…. Leaving work, catching the train home to change and should be at the park no later than 545/6…

      • scmargenau - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:14 PM

        I’m jealous

    • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      Good thing I metro to games… Any reason given for the closure?

  24. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Good Lord…braves have bases loaded and no outs…

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      And Bonifacio strikes out… And then BJ hits into a double play… Come on Pads, beat the braves!

  25. secretwasianman - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    braves having a big 7th inning. oh well.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
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)*
*if necessary

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.
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