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Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 3

Aug 26, 2014, 9:32 PM EST

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After a fruitless night at the plate against A.J. Burnett on Monday, the Nationals knew they faced another stiff challenge Tuesday against longtime nemesis Cole Hamels. And for six innings, the Phillies lefty proved virtually unhittable, carrying a shutout on a scant 59 pitches.

Gio Gonzalez wasn’t as effective — he allowed three runs on a pair of homers — but the left-hander did give the Nationals a chance to get something going at the plate. Which they finally did in the seventh. A prolonged rally brought home a pair of runs, then Asdrubal Cabrera’s leadoff homer in the eighth tied the game and knocked out Hamels at last.

The Phillies, though, got the run right back in controversial fashion in the bottom of the eighth. Ben Revere initially was ruled out on a close play at first base, but Ryne Sandberg successfully got the call overturned, with umpires in New York convinced Ian Desmond’s high throw pulled fill-in first baseman Kevin Frandsen’s foot off the bag. That proved costly, because Revere proceeded to steal second base off Tyler Clippard, then advanced twice on flyballs to give the Phillies the lead again.

Jonathan Papelbon then closed it out in the ninth, dealing the Nationals back-to-back losses for the first time since August 5.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: How good has Cabrera been for the Nationals since his acquisition on July 31? The overall stats don’t blow you away, but Cabrera seems to deliver at least one big play in a key spot every time he plays, whether at the plate or in the field. He did it again tonight, homering off Hamels to tie this game in the eighth. If there was any concern about his strained right side after a swing on Sunday, he has put that to rest with a big pinch-hit Monday night and now a homer tonight.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Gonzalez actually pitched quite well for most of the night. He located his fastball, pumped out some nice curveballs and was very efficient, needing only 43 pitches to complete his first four innings. But he was done in by a trip of poorly located pitches, each proving costly. He hung a curveball to Grady Sizemore, who belted a triple to deep right-center to lead off the fifth. Then he left a fastball up to Freddy Galvis, who crushed it to left for a 2-run homer and the first runs of the evening. One inning later, Gonzalez left a fastball over the plate to Darin Ruf, who also found the bleachers. Three pitches leading directly to three runs. This wasn’t by any stretch a poor start for Gio, but he needed to be sharper when it really mattered.

KEY STAT: The Nationals have given Gio Gonzalez a total of four runs of support over his last 39 1/3 innings pitched.

UP NEXT: The series concludes at 7:35 p.m. Wednesday — note the pushed-back start time due to a pregame ceremony honoring Mo’ne Davis and the Taney Little League team that just played in the World Series in Williamsport — when Doug Fister takes the mound against Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick.

  1. Danny - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    NYC please be consistent in your replay reviews thanks.

    • Eric - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:36 PM

      Seriously. I mean that just seemed straight up arbitrary. The field ump’s little smirk just made it worse.

      • Danny - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:38 PM

        My gripe is the rule states they need overwhelming evidence to overturn a call on the field. In both cases the replay evidence was lacking and the calls were still overturned against us.

  2. David Proctor - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    I suspect the LOD will be back since we lost 2 in a row. It happens.

    Losses happen. What shouldn’t happen is Desi misplaying a routine grounder to short. You can’t do that. Revere is fast, but it was routine.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:37 PM

      That was the back breaker.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        The balk no call, the two replay calls, Ian’s throw, Ramos’throw, Werth and Frandsen not communicating…each of these had bad results.

      • NatsLady - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        No, the missed foul ball didn’t cost anything except one extra pitch for Clip. Or was there another miscommunication?

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        You are correct, NL. The AB ended in a strike out, to end the inning, I think.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        With the Werth Frandsen event what bad happened

    • habs3 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      Can you please cut out this LOD crap. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I do not mind reading the negative comments just as I do not mind reading your overly optimistic view ( which sometime border on the absurd) of the team. You seem to take any negative comment as a personal attack on you.

      You and others are becoming a real bore with your LOD of doom gibberish. Especially annoying are those comments where you and others praise players that we have acquired while at the same time denigrating players we have traded (i.e. Zach Walters).

      • veejh - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:22 PM

        +1

      • David Proctor - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:31 PM

        I never take a negative comment as an attack, but people lose perspective all the time. Was I wrong for defending the team through the May doldrums? I said they would improve when they got healthy and members of the LOD shouted me down and practically declared the season over.

        There are very rational criticisms of the team. Rarely do you see me speak out against those. It’s the ones that are flat-out wrong that you often see me get worked up over.

        FWIW, I haven’t denigrated Zack Walters since he was traded. But Cabrera HAS outperformed him.

      • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:17 AM

        Amen.

      • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:24 AM

        David, u r missing the point. You have great comments. But when others don’t like a player, a move, attitude, mental lapses, etc they don’t want to feel like they are idiots and LOD for doing so. People spending 3-4 hours a day watching the nats and commenting ARE FANS, big time. Now overboard trolling like SWM is one thing…but most accused LODers are just fans expressing opinions, and many times they are right. Eg: Stras is a head case and under performer. Bryce is an overrated brat. Those are opinions.. Respect them…we all love the nats but we don’t have to go all Katrina and the waves walking on sunshine on them. /endrant

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    Just win Mets…

  4. Eric - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    GIDP in NYC

    1 out left for Braves…

  5. Eric - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Gattis called out!

  6. Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    My hat is in hand. Frandsen had an overall terrific game.

  7. David Proctor - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Braves lose, so reduce the magic number by one.

    • rayvil01 - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:44 PM

      That’s the key. Between us and the Braves are 62 games total. Need 24 of those to go our way.

      Phillies are putting on a late-season cubic zirconium run. Hope Amaro is silly enough to swallow it.

      • adcwonk - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        +1

  8. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Horrible loss… But we didn’t lose ground… Whatevs… Try to get the salvage tomorrow…

    • therealjohnc - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      Actually Nats gained ground – because another day has run through the hourglass for the Braves’ chance to catch the Nats. As we saw so painfully last year, when you are ahead every game that you hold onto your lead in the standings is a victory.

  9. manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Clippard added to Ian’s error by not hold Ravere, then two long flies.

    Of course we had a man on third with one out and couldn’t hit a fly.

    Freddy Galvis. No homers until tonight. Gio does need to focus on them and doesn’t.

    • David Proctor - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      Clippard gave Ramos a chance, it was a poor throw. Good throw gets him.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        Agreed. Revere got a really poor jump.

  10. Eric - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    OK, no loss in the standings. Would love to crush em tomorrow and salvage the season match up victory.

  11. veejh - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    Another tough loss. Who can we blame? Lots. I blame Espi for not sacrificing w bases loaded 1 out. There.

    • David Proctor - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:46 PM

      He hit a line drive. Not much more he could do.

      • veejh - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        1st pitch, right? Take a few.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      Span, though he hit a hard line drive, it went right to the 1B to end the bases loaded inning.. He had an unproductive night at the plate. Second night in a row.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:50 PM

        His last 5 away games have not been good. Will get the number

  12. manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    I would love to sit down with the umps after the game for a quick review.

    What my question this time why was Hamel’s pick off not a balk.

  13. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    I think that was the 1st time I’ve ever hear MW call out one of his players… Not to say he just said Gio had the bunt sign and he swung….

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:52 PM

      Not to say he hasn’t called out a player but he did say Gio had the bunt sign and he swung…*

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:04 PM

        Swinging was was bad enough, but the ball was way outside on top of that. Take it and bunt the next.

    • NatsLady - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

      He’s called players out before, a couple of times (not counting Bryce). I was working, heard the wild pitch and then I saw the runner was still on 2nd, I thought Gio had missed the bunt. Now I hear this. Gio SHOULD NOT swing.

  14. manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    I wish one of those reporters would ask to sit down with the umps and ask what part of Hamel’s pick off was legal and why?

  15. NatsLady - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    I only saw the second review. Seemed like the Nats got a full share of bad luck in this game. The second homer off Gio, though===> yuck. Desi not sharp. LaRoche looked poor in the last at-bat against Papelbon. Not sure why Frandsen (or Werth) didn’t catch the foul ball, but that didn’t cost. Other plays did. Things are not good when Span is slumping. When does he get his day off?

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:03 PM

      Tonight should have been the night.

  16. conatsguy - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    No LOD credentials here…

    Nats just finished an epic run. I’m OK with a little 500 ball until the next home stand. Hate losing to the cellar dwellers, but as long as the Barves can’t figure out which way way is up, we will be alright.

    • NatsLady - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      Cellar dwellers are still major-league teams. M’s lost to the Rangers yesterday. They switched up their rotation so we’d get King Felix on the assumption Joe Blow could beat Texas. That could backfire. A win’s a win, and they need all the wins they can get. Unless Felix is tired, I would have let him go on regular rest.

  17. manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    I forgot about Gio patheticswing on 1-2 count instead of taking the ball and then bunt. Span then flied to center.

    Most little things we didn’t do came back to bite tonight.

    Need Fister to pitch normal not kike last Friday.

  18. manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    Last 5 away games Span 0 for 19.

    Wonder why?

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:13 PM

      You are right, but come on! The guy has hit .337 with a .358 OBP for the month of August.

  19. David Proctor - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    I’m guessing Gio thought he had a better shot of moving the runner by putting it in play with a swing than a bunt. He hadn’t looked good bunting. So I do not think he was being plain boneheaded.

    However, if he thinks he’s going to put that pitch he swung at in play, he has some rather grandiose ideas about which pitches he can reach.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      David, Williams says he still had a bunt sign. He’s not supposed to swing.

  20. manassasnatsfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Clip needed to buckle down after the error and couldn’t do it.

    Win tomorrow.

    Give Span Friday night off.

    • NatsLady - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:19 PM

      Gee, he buckled down pretty much. He got a ground ball that wasn’t an out but should have been, and his catcher should have gotten the runner caught stealing. He’s a flyball pitcher, so he got two flyballs, but he did get the strikeout after the missed foul ball.

  21. NatsLady - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    News Flash: Robinson Cano can hit. He’s gonna be about as much fun as Giancarlo Stanton.

    • Chas - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      Well, as Jim Palmer used to say, you always have a base open, even if it’s home.

  22. pchuck69 - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    The Frandsen off the bag play.

    Yeah right.

    • David Proctor - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:06 PM

      I still can’t tell

      • pchuck69 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        Yes. To overturn a call it has to be irrefutable evidence. That’s not irrefutable by any stretch of the imagination.

      • conatsguy - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        Agree DP. Not enough there to overturn. Let’s crush them tomorrow.

    • veejh - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      Honestly, I thought his foot was off the bag. Hard to tell. Either way, when it’s that close, you have to go with the call on the field. This system is to eliminate the bad calls, not decide games on close calls.

  23. Section 222 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    Magic number is now 24. Lowest in the majors for a first place team.

  24. pchuck69 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    Also, can we get a clarification on what a balk is?

    This umpiring crew has not been good….or at least, not good to the Nationals.

  25. scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:36 AM

    I’m a bit worried chow we hit against good pitchers. I sure would like to see a healthy Zim back soon…

    • therealjohnc - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:17 AM

      Meh. They’ve smacked around some good pitchers this year (see, e.g., Jose Fernandez). They just don’t do it often because, hey, those good pitchers are good. Just ask anyone who has to try to hit off the Nats’ pitchers.

      • Andrew Wallace - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:45 AM

        Why on earth is span incapable of hitting away? The guys average is like 100 points higher at home.

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