Espino vs Philly:
Paolo Espino posted a 2.03 ERA, a 3.06 FIP, four walks, 20 Ks, and a .228/.257/.317 line against in 20 games and 26 2⁄3 innings pitched out of the bullpen to start the season.
Called upon to start the last time out before tonight, the right-hander gave the Nationals 3 2⁄3 IP, on 53 pitches, giving up four hits and a run before he was done with his first starting assignment of the 2022 campaign.
Espino said he could have given the club more, but understood why his manager ended the outing when he did.
“I was feeling okay,” Espino said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“But I understand I haven’t been out there for more than three [innings], and I don’t think I had thrown more than 50 pitches the entire season in one appearance. They were going the safe route. It’s a decision they probably thought about before. I’m happy with the decision. I just go out there and do the best I can do, as long as I can.”
He actually threw 55 over 3 IP in early April, and 48 in 3 IP in late May, but Davey Martinez wasn’t going to stretch him out too much in his first start.
In outing No. 2 as part of the Nationals’ rotation, Espino walked the first two batters, putting both Phillies’ leadoff man Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins on, but he got Nick Castellanos swinging for out No. 1, then catcher Keibert Ruiz and first baseman Josh Bell pulled off yet another slick back-pick to get Hoskins off first base for out No. 2, before J.T. Realmuto K’d swinging for No. 3.
Phillies’ outfielder Matt Vierling hit a 2-2 fastball from Espino 432 feet to left field, where it bounced off the steps and onto the concourse for his 2nd home run of the season, which tied things up at 1-1 a half-inning after a Josh Bell blast gave the home team an early lead.
Yairo Muñoz walked in the next at-bat, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a ground ball up the middle by Kyle Schwarber when Luis García fielded it, hesitated thinking about a throw to third, then turned to first and fired it wide, allowing Muñoz to score on the error, 2-1, and 3-1 when Schwarber took third on a Rhys Hoskins’ ground ball Maikel Franco couldn’t barehand, and scored on a grounder by Nick Castellanos.
It was 3-3 when Espino came out for the fourth at 75 pitches, and with help from Juan Soto, (who threw Kyle Schwarber out at second when he tried to stretch a line drive to right field), the Nats’ starter go through a quick, 14-pitch frame which left him at 89 total for the game.
Paolo Espino’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 89 P, 55 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
Bailey Falter, a 25-year-old, 2015 5th Round pick by the Phillies, made his debut in the big leagues in 2021, and heading into tonight’s outing, the left-hander was (0-2) in six games, two starts, and 15 IP on the year, with a 4.20 ERA, a 5.74 FIP, five walks, nine strikeouts, and a .293/.343/.535 line against, with his last two outings starts.
The southpaw started the night with a 1-2-3 first, but Josh Bell led off the second with home run No. 10 of the season, and the third home run in two games, as he took a 3-2 fastball 426 feet to center field in Nationals Park for a 1-0 lead.
It was 3-1 in the Phillies’ favor when the left-hander came out for the third, and retired the Nats in order, but he issued a leadoff walk to Nelson Cruz in the fourth, and Josh Bell hit a fastball out to right this time, for a game-tying, 2-run shot. No. 2 tonight. No. 3 for the day. No. 11 on the season. 3-3 game.
Bailey Falter’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 78 P, 53 S, 3/5 GO/FO.
Erasmo Ramírez took over for the Nationals in the top of the sixth and retired the side in order (with help from a range-y Victor Robles in center) in a five-pitch frame.
Nick Nelson was the first arm out of the bullpen for the Phillies, coming on in the bottom of the sixth, and he walked Nelson Cruz and Josh Bell to start the inning, then uncorked a wild pitch that moved both runners up so Maikel Franco’s one-out sac fly to left field brought the go-ahead run in when Cruz slid in safely. Luis García doubled off the wall in right field to get Bell in too, 5-3 Nationals.
Carl Edwards, Jr. retired the Phillies in order in a 10-pitch top of the seventh after the Nats took the lead.
Kyle Finnegan got the ball in the eighth and gave up a leadoff walk to Kyle Schwarber and a one-out single by Nick Castellanos, but he got a force at second (but no DP upon review) on a J.T. Realmuto grounder, and he tried to pitch around Bryce Harper, but after getting a call on a 3-0 pitch up in the zone, he left a splitter up that Harper lined to right field for a game-tying, two-run double, 5-5.
Tanner Rainey finished up the eighth, and came back out in the ninth and gave up a home run to left-center by Matt Vierling on a 98 MPH 1-1 fastball, 6-5 Phillies.
Andrew Bellatti came on for the save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the right-hander gave up a one-out single to right field by pinch hitter Yadiel Hernández, who beat the shift to get the potential winning run to the plate in the form of Lane Thomas, who K’d swinging on foul-tip strike three. Juan Soto? The Phillies stalled, and went to the pen for lefty José Alvarado, who got to a full count with Soto and walked him. Nelson Cruz stepped in with two on and two out and ... sent a grounder to short that Didi Gregorius fielded and threw away. Tie game when pinch hitter César Hernández scored, 6-6. Second and third. Josh Bell got a base-loading intentional walk, and Keibert Ruiz grounded out to third to send it to extras.
Steve Cishek got the top of the tenth. Kyle Schwarber, the Phillies’ free runner, and Rhys Hoskins, who walked, both moved up a base on a groundout by Nick Castellanos, and both runners scored when Luis García collided with Hoskins while going for a J.T. Realmuto grounder towards short, and the umps called interference on García and said both runners score, making it 8-6 Phillies. Davey Martinez got tossed arguing the call.
Alvarado came back out for the bottom the tenth and gave up a two-out RBI double to right by Ehire Adrianza which brought in ghost runner Keibert Ruiz, but Cesar Hernández hit one to third to end it. Phillies win, 8-7.
Nationals now 23-45