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Instant analysis: Phillies 8, Nats 4

Aug 27, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After losing the first two games of his series in large part due to lights-out pitching performances by A.J. Burnett and Cole Hamels, the Nationals knew they needed a win tonight to avoid a sweep at the hands of the last-place Phillies. They had to feel good about their chances, with Doug Fister on the mound for them and Kyle Kendrick on the mound for Philadelphia. That didn’t prove to be as favorable a matchup as they hoped.

The Nationals hit Kendrick once again, scoring at least four runs off the right-hander for the fifth straight head-to-head start. But Fister couldn’t hold two separate leads he was given, giving up two runs in the bottom of the first and three more in the bottom of the sixth, departing in stunned fashion.

Needing a late rally, the Nationals instead dug themselves into a deeper hole. Ross Detwiler gave up three more runs in relief, and the lineup went down quietly the rest of the night. Thus the Nats followed up a 9-1 homestand with a 3-game sweep here, and now face a daunting week on the West Coast against the contending Mariners and Dodgers.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: It looked like Denard Span was going to be the star of the game for the Nationals. That didn’t prove to be the case, but it wasn’t from lack of effort on his part. Though he committed a first-inning error that allowed one run to score, he more than made up for it at the plate. Span singled and scored in his first at-bat. He hustled his way to a double and scored in his second at-bat. And then he launched a ball into the second deck in his third at-bat for only his second homer of the season.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Something simply hasn’t been the same for Fister the last two times he has taken the mound. After a stretch of six starts in which he surrendered a total of nine earned runs, the right-hander has now given up nine runs (eight earned) in his last two outings. A common trend: Home runs. He gave up a pair to the Giants on Friday in D.C., and he gave up a pair to the Phillies tonight, each on pitches up in the zone. Particularly troubling about tonight’s start was the fact the Nationals twice gave Fister a 2-run lead, and twice he gave the lead right back. That’s very out of character for him. The question now: Have these last two starts been a blip on the radar, or is there actual cause for concern?

KEY STAT: In the game’s first three innings, plate umpire Dan Iassogna called eight pitches out of the zone strikes and five pitches in the zone balls, according to BrooksBaseball.net’s umpire tracking system.

UP NEXT: The Nationals have a long flight out to Seattle ahead of them tonight, but will get Thursday to rest up before opening a big weekend series against the Mariners. Friday’s 10:10 p.m. opener features a doozy of a pitching matchup: Felix Hernandez vs. Jordan Zimemrmann. Start brewing coffee now so you can stay up late to watch that one.

  1. manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    That was a stinky series, after a great home stand. Win the next two series.

    Fister up 4-2 in the 6th. Just pitch. That game should be won at that point.

    Fister last two starts have been mediocre at best. Time to get back on track.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      There was nothing mediocre about tonight’s performance or his last.. To me…

      Tighten up and get back to playing efficient baseball cuz this series we didn’t see it…

  2. NatsLady - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Hmmmmm…. just like 2012. Nats got swept by the Phillies, lost five straigtht (Aug 22-28). Won the next 8 of 9.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      Let’s do it.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Fister not sharp. Detwiler wasn’t good. Not a good time for ALR and Harper to go a combined 0-8.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      Thorton was fine, but brought in two batters late.

  4. manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    In 2 of the three the starter was out pitched. The other was even.

    Our starters need to out pitch their opponents

  5. David Proctor - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    Like I said in the other thread, hopefully this serves as a wakeup call to the team. Teams like the Phillies have nothing to play for other than playing spoiler. You’ve gotta play these games like you’re playing the Giants.

    We still have the largest division lead in baseball. First place teams get swept by last place teams, it’s part of baseball.

    But, you better tighten up the things that led to this loss before you go into Seattle. You have to move runners. You have to play better defense. Desi’s careless error last night. Span’s today, but he more than made up for it offensively. There were some other plays in the series that should’ve been made but weren’t errors (like the ball under Espi’s glove in the first game).

    • Steady Eddie - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      +1

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      As I said in the other thread, Phillies did the fundlementals better all series.

      Wake up call 7 up still. However if you don’t learn the lessons, then shame on you.

      Thorton needed to cone in and most of us saw the writing on the wall, and MW will come up with some excuse that we are all wrong.

  6. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    double N vs Hernandez – should be fun…

    • David Proctor - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      Zim will just have to outpitch him. Doesn’t matter how well Felix pitches if they can’t score.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        I’m confident it will be a low scoring game…. They are probably saying the same thing about Jordan… And they’ve gotta be a little concerned about him and the extra rest…

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      I am going with a 2-1 win.

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Ray vs FP… I swear Ray is hilarious…

    • David Proctor - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      Can’t watch, what are they saying?

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        Ray questioned why Thornton wasn’t bought in to get Sizemore… Seeing as how Fister wasn’t really on tonight… And when it looked like Fister was gassed…

        FP said he won’t question matt as he’s made all the right moves lately and Ray said well I will question him becuz tonight is tonight and all game fister looked off…

        Then went back and forth a little bit… But this isn’t the first time this has happened with the 2 of them…

        Then Ray said as an analyst, it’s a fair question since fister wasn’t really on cruise control and you have Thornton up and ready, why not bring him in and use him…

      • ehay2k - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:11 AM

        Ready said, why warm up Thornton if you’re just going to sit him? To which FP replied something like: “Well, they didn’t sit him Ray, he pitched to the batter after Revere.” Then, clearly miffed, Ray said “I know that FP.”

        To me, Ray was being overly critical of both MW and and FP for refusing to call out the manager. FP was being diplomatic.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      Ray thinks too much like me.

    • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      FP played diplomat. Saying his opinion didn’t matter…Ray jumps in “ill say it then, I’m not afraid..,” and then went into how Thorton was warmed for a specific at Bat and MW didn’t pull the trigger.

      Something to that affect.

      Later FP said something obvious, and Ray said “I know that FP”, and sighed.

      • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:11 PM

        Ok. Mrs B said it so much better!

  8. NatsLady - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    I had a question about Desi’s hit. Not that it mattered because he took second on defensive indifference, but didn’t a fan touch the ball? And knock it toward the fielder? Is Desi supposed to get an extra base on that?

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      No it hit the little wall.

      The fan reached and missed it.

  9. scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    Ray is feisty tonight! And a 100% right. I think he and FP are having some “issues”

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      We all have issues. Losing to a last play team is a poor effort. At least win 1.

  10. manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    My MW says Fister pitched well. Did I miss something?

    • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      He lost me there. I’ve always thought him a bit dull…now I know

  11. scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    Ok. Matt is now officially clueless- think fister pitched well.

    He did not. He was slow and up all night.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:11 PM

      Fister was up most of the night. Sinkers up are stinkers.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      He’s not saying it because he thinks it’s true.

      He’s saying it to stick up for a guy who has pitched very, very well for him this season.

      • David Proctor - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:15 PM

        Many people don’t understand this. A manager’s job in those postgame pressers isn’t to say what he really thinks.

      • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        Maybe. But when roared pitched pretty good he went on to say he didn’t have his good stuff, sinker wasn’t sinking, etc. same for JZ. So be consistent…or try.

      • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:25 PM

        Roark

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 28, 2014 at 7:14 AM

        He is being consistent – he’s not kicking the guy in public when he’s down.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:09 AM

        like harper
        I don’t understand how saying he was a little gassed is kicking a guy…
        why have or watch the press conference if the guy can’t say anything

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        Why, indeed?

        Do you bother to watch it? I don’t.

  12. scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    He literally looks like a deer in the headlights right now.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      He did to start with. Looking better now.

  13. manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    One reporter asked if the procedure has any effect. Who knows, I know he has pissed poorly since it. Should have no effect, but sure is suspicious.

    • David Proctor - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      How exactly do you know how Doug Fister is pissing? I love the Nats, but I draw a line.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:13 PM

        Auto correct changed the damn word again, the word should be pitched

      • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        Ha!!! I so needed that.

  14. scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    “He’s been hitting it the other way” on span.

    WHAT????

  15. manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Most Spans hit are to center aren’t they?

  16. manassasnatsfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Still surprised. I thought there was no way on Earth would we lose this. Just goes to show players have to out their winning clothes every day.

  17. scmargenau - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    In fairness, philly played well.

    • veejh - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:37 PM

      Yea, they did. They always play us tough.

  18. veejh - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Just move on from this disaster of a series.

  19. coop202 - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    Everyone espn gets back on the bandwagon I swear things take a turn

    • veejh - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:40 PM

      Yeah, the series sweep is ESPNs fault. Thank God that was it. They should drop us now that we got swept.

      • coop202 - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        Of course it has nothing to do with it, don’t be obnoxious. But it’s fun to have superstitious coincidences.

      • veejh - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:48 PM

        Sorry. A bit annoyed right now, not baseball related.

    • coop202 - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:40 PM

      Ha I wrote that before even seeing this http://m.espn.go.com/general/blogs/blogpost?blogname=sweetspot&id=50867

    • coop202 - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      *everytime

  20. Section 222 - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:06 AM

    Oh my, that was an ugly game.

    One thing worth noting about the Phils — those two young guys they have in the back of their bullpen. Gas, gas, and more gas. Scary. Better get some leads against them when they come to DC next.

    We’re still going to win the division, but I’d like home field advantage please. How about winning 3 games over the next two series? And preferably 2 in LA.

    • veejh - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:12 AM

      Giles was excellent.

    • David Proctor - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:33 AM

      Giles is the next Kimbrel. Diekman is still wild enough that you can get to him. But Giles is just pure filth.

  21. thomaswell - Aug 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    i still chuckle that that deadline passed without philly dealing anyone….. lol

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
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