It was the Nats’ sixth win in seven games with the Phillies in D.C. this season, and sixth in a row after they dropped the first game of the season at home against Philly on April 2nd.
Ross vs the Phils: Joe Ross posted a 1.05 ERA with 13 walks, 16 Ks, and a .200/.301/.267 line against in five starts and 25 2⁄3 innings pitched in the month of August, settling into the fifth spot in the Nationals’ rotation, but after he gave up eight hits, three walks, and seven runs in 3 2⁄3 IP against the New York Mets in his first start in September, the righty, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017, felt discomfort in his right forearm and was shut down as they waited for the issue to subside.
After throwing over the last few weeks without any issues, Ross returned to the mound in the first game of today’s doubleheader and got into trouble early, giving up a leadoff walk and three singles as the Phillies jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Ross limited the damage in the first, however, leaving the bases loaded at the end of a 28-pitch frame, and he completed two scoreless after that, on 25 pitches, which left him at [checks math] 53 total after three.
After an 11-pitch top of the fourth, the Nationals tied it up at 1-1, and Ross was done for the day after throwing 64 pitches total...
Joe Ross’s Line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 64 P, 40 S, 4/0 GO/FO.
Parker vs the Nationals: Blake Parker, a 2006 16th Round pick by Chicago (NL) who made his MLB debut for the Cubs in 2012, had 286 appearances out of the bullpen on his resume over his seven years in the majors, but this afternoon’s outing was his first start in the big leagues, as the Phillies tried to piece together a starter-by-committee outing in the first of today’s two games in Nationals Park.
In 20 appearances out of the Philadelphia bullpen this season, Parker had a 4.71 ERA, a 4.22 FIP, six walks, and 26 Ks in 21 IP before today.
Parker tossed two scoreless and hitless on 27 pitches before the Phillies went to the pen.
3 is the Magic Number, Yes it is: Washington’s Nationals starter the day with a so-called magic number of 3 to secure a spot in the NL Wild Card game, which, if they did, would make them just the ninth team in MLB history to come back from 12 games under .500 during a season (19-31 on May 23rd) to make the Postseason, according to the Nationals’ pregame notes, which cited information from the Elias Sports Bureau. With today’s win, their magic number is down to 2.
BULLPEN ACTION: Mike Morin took over on the mound for the Phillies in the bottom of the third, with a 1-0 lead, and retired the Nationals in order in a 12-pitch frame.
Ranger Suárez was next in line for the Phillies, and he gave up the first hit, a leadoff double to center by Trea Turner (34), who moved up on a sac bunt by Adam Eaton, and scored on Anthony Rendon’s sac fly to left, 1-1.
Erick Fedde came on for the Nationals in the top of the fifth, and retired the Phillies in order in a 13-pitch frame.
Brian Dozier and Victor Robles hit back-to-back, one-out singles off of Suárez in the bottom of the fifth, and Davey Martinez went to the bench for Howie Kendrick with two out, after a swinging K from catcher Raudy Read. Philly skipper Gabe Kapler countered with right-hand reliever Nick Vincent. It went to a full count, but Vincent got Kendrick swinging with a cutter up high to end the threat.
Tanner Rainey retired the Phillies in order in a 16-pitch top of the sixth, and the Nationals put runners on second and third with no one out against Vincent in the bottom of the inning, on a Turner single and Eaton double.
Rendon stepped in next, with two runners in scoring position, and lined a sac fly to right to put the Nationals on top, 2-1.
Lefty José Álvarez retired Juan Soto with Eaton on third, and stayed on to face right-handed hitting Ryan Zimmerman (for some reason). Zimmerman lined an opposite field RBI single to right for a 3-1 lead.
Fernando Rodney got the seventh for the Nationals, and retired the side in order in an 11-pitch frame.
Philly righty Jared Hughes kept it a two-run game with a scoreless bottom of the seventh.
Sean Doolittle took the mound in the eighth, and retired the Phillies in order in a 15-pitch frame.
Edgar Garcia gave up back-to-back-to-back walks to Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, and Ryan Zimmerman in the Nats’ half of the eighth, but Garcia got two outs before uncorking a wild pitch that brought Rendon in, 4-1.
Daniel Hudson got the ninth with a three-run lead, and retired the Phillies in order to end it.
Final Score: 4-1 Nationals
Nationals now 87-69