Phillies Swept by Impressive Nats


2. 6. 12. 90. Final

Time may be running out on the Washington Nationals disappointing 2015 season, but judging by the display they put on against the host Phillies this week at Citizens Bank Park, the team is not going to just roll over and surrender their NL East crown easily.

The Nats destroyed the Phils by a 12-2 score in Wednesday’s series finale, completing their first road sweep of the season. The victory combined with a loss by the New York Mets moves Washington within 7.5 games of first place. The Nationals have 17 games remaining, the Mets have 16 to play.

This was an even game for most of its first half, with the two teams tied at 2-2 heading to the top of the 5th. To that point, a 2nd inning sac fly by Jose Lobaton and a 4th inning solo homer from ex-Phil Jayson Werth, his 10th of the season, were all the Nats managed off Phils’ rookie starter Alec Asher.

The Phillies’ two runs came courtesy of Darin Ruf‘s 8th homer of the year, a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 4th that tied the game up at that point. It would not remain tied for very long.

More from That Balls Outta Here

Over the game’s 2nd half, the Phillies were shut out by a trio of Nationals pitchers. Meanwhile, the Nats’ bats scored in every inning from the 4th right on through the 9th: a pair in each of the 5th, 6th, and 7th, and then a 3-spot in the 8th, sandwiched around single runs in the 4th and 9th.

Included in that consistent attack were yet another home run from Werth, who has enjoyed his time back here in his old Philly stomping grounds this week by stomping the Phils with a pair of multi-homer games.

"“No one likes losing. I hate it. I’m trying to shorten the learning curve, learn a lot of things and get better.” ~ Phils’ starter Asher"

Also going yard to cap a 4-homer series was NL MVP candidate Bryce Harper, who smashed his 40th of the season in the 7th. Harper now leads the National League in home runs, and all of baseball with his .338 batting average, .467 on-base percentage, .670 slugging mark, and a 1.137 OPS.

Asher (0-4) remains winless in his MLB career after allowing 4 earned runs across his 5 innings. He surrendered 7 hits, walked a batter, and threw 48 strikes among his 73 total pitches. In 4 starts, Asher has yet to reach the 6th inning, and has allowed at least 4 earned runs and 7 hits in each.

Failure is part of the game,” Asher said, per’s Todd Zolecki. “It’s frustrating. No one likes losing. I hate it. I’m trying to shorten the learning curve, learn a lot of things and get better.

On the Nationals side, lefty starter Gio Gonzalez, another ex-Phil, allowed just 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out a dozen Phillies batters. The 12 strikeouts ties a career high for Gonzalez (11-7), matching the personal best that he set just last September against the Mets.

The Phillies have the day off on Thursday, a travel day for the team as they head out on the final road trip of the season. Over the next 10 days the Phils will be in Atlanta, Miami, and Washington.

When the club returns home on September 29th to finish up the 2015 season with a pair of 3-game series vs the Mets and Marlins, they are likely to do so in front of sparse crowds. The once rollicking and jam-packed Bank saw 15,753 in attendance on a beautiful late-season night against a contending rival on Wednesday.

Total attendance will not reach the 2 million mark for the first time since 2002, the first time in Citizens Bank Park history the club won’t reach that level. The Phillies are next-to-last in the NL total attendance figures, behind only the notoriously disinterested Marlins’ fans. These are dark days in South Philly that we are riding out, my fellow Fightins’ fans.