The Philadelphia Phillies were crushed by the host Washington Nationals on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park.
The sun was late-spring bright in the sky, and the steamy weather felt almost like mid-summer at Nationals Park in our nation’s capital this afternoon.
The visiting Phillies looked bothered by the heat, or the fading away of their once-promising season, or the competition level provided by the hosts.
But those hosts looked anything but bothered. Instead, they looked very much like a kettle of vultures circling the baking, dying carcasses of their helpless and hapless guests.
The Nats devoured the Phillies by an 8-0 score in a game that was unwatchable from the perspective of a Phils’ fan, but highly entertaining from the home fans perspective. At least for as long as they could tolerate that heat.
The Phillies best starting pitcher, sophomore Aaron Nola (5-5), was chomped upon easily. He yielded seven hits and four earned runs over just 3.2 innings.
“I felt pretty wild. My curveball was hanging a lot,” Nola said per David Ginsburg of the Associated Press. “They put some good swings on those, especially with two strikes. I was too much in the zone.”
The bullpen wasn’t much help either. Elvis Araujo was tagged for two runs in just 2/3 of an inning, Andrew Bailey gave up one in his 1.2 inning stint, and Hector Neris remained ineffective by allowing three hits, a walk, and a run in his lone inning.
The vulture-like host pitching was feeding off the rotting flesh of the diseased Phillies lineup all afternoon. Vultures can do that thanks to protective toxins in their stomach acid. Those innards were given a workout today.
Washington starter Tanner Roark (5-4) allowed six hits and a walk over seven shutout innings in which he struck out seven batters. Sammy Solis and Blake Treinen then each tossed a scoreless frame as well, striking out three more helpless Phillies’ batters between them.
Anthony Rendon continued his resurgence over the last month of the season with a hit and two walks, scoring twice and driving in two runs.
It’s starting to get a bit disheartening, documenting the 2016 Phillies slide to below mediocrity, but here goes: the club has now lost 16 of its last 21 games, and fallen four games below .500, tying their low-water mark which came all the way back when they began the season 0-4.
Things are bad right now, people. There is some good, exciting talent present to enjoy, and to give hope for the future. More is coming, including the first career start for Zach Eflin next week. But right now…bad. The vultures ate well today.