The Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night, dropping the Phils back to the .500 mark in the standings.
For the first time since they were 10-10 on April 26th, the Phillies are now at the .500 mark on the season. Their 26-26 record has dropped them into 4th place in the NL East standings.
That outcome is a direct result of last night’s 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. But it is also the cumulative result of their recent stretch of losing baseball.
The Phillies have now lost five straight games, four consecutive series, and are just 4-11 since they briefly tied for first place back on May 14th.
The usual culprit led to this defeat – a complete and utter failure to produce by the lineup. The single run scored means that the Phillies now have score two or fewer runs in 20 of their 52 games this season.
The Nats broke out early on Phillies’ starting pitcher Aaron Nola, as former Phils’ hero Jayson Werth blasted Nola’s third pitch of the game out over the wall in left-center field for his 8th home run of the season.
That would be all that the righty would allow until late in his outing. Nola, who turns just 23 years old this coming weekend, allowed just five hits over six innings, striking out six and walking one.
“He competes pitch by pitch is what he does and he doesn’t let anything bother him,” Phillies’ manager Mackanin said per MLB.com contributors. “He’s like a golfer who sees the water in front of him and the sandtraps to the side and just puts that out of focus.”
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However, on a one-out grounder to shortstop Danny Espinosa, Hernandez tried to score, and was thrown out at the plate, the Phillies losing another scoring opportunity.
The Nationals finally re-captured the lead against Nola, again thanks to the long ball. This time it was a familiar culprit, as Daniel Murphy continued his incredible season by driving a two-strike pitch out over the right field wall for his 9th homer and a 2-1 lead for the visitors.
That 2-1 score held into the final frame when the Nationals got to the Phillies bullpen for a clinching 3-spot. Again, the home run did them in, this time of two different varieties.
Both homers came with two outs off Phillies’ reliever Colton Murray. First came Espinosa, driving a two-run line drive over the wall in right field to up the Nats lead to 4-1.
Stephen Drew then followed by blasting a shot high off the center field wall that bounced away from the Phils’ outfielders, Drew racing all the way around for an inside-the-park home run that made the final score a 5-1 margin for the visitors.
So the Phillies are back where they began the season. Had you told anyone in that opening week that on June 1st the Phils would be at the .500 mark, those folks would have been happy.
Somehow, after their month-long hot stretch, I doubt there are many happy Phillies fans this morning. The series concludes with a Wednesday night game, but the homestand continues for another week and a half.