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Cole-cocked: Nationals 6, Phillies 1

A sunny afternoon! Ace vs. ace! A series win in the balance! The chance to get to .500! A shot at tying with the Nationals!

Patrick McDermott

There was a lot on the line for the Phillies today; a lot to be gained from a win... which of course set the table for a gutting, devastating loss.

Cole Hamels was looking for a comeback. He had thrown 40 pitches by the third inning, but had been K'ing the Nats on the regular (He'd also had the best Phillies at-bat of the day). By the end of the inning, he crossed the 50 pitch threshold, but struck out Bryce Harper to end a minor Nats threat after Stephen Strasburg doubled.

Cole got better as the day went on. After needing a chunk of pitches to get through the first three innings, he shut down the Nats on 12 pitches in the fourth and nine in the fifth. Sadly, Strasburg also got better, and his "better" was even better than Cole's. Also, to be fair, Strasburg was pitching against the Phillies. So.

The Phillies launched a quiet offensive in the second inning on a Kevin Frandsen HBP and a Ben Revere single, but saw it squashed by Humberto Quintero's brilliant one-pitch ground out. Then they didn't notch a hit off Strasburg again until Freddy Galvis singled in the sixth, and was immediately snuffed out by a Michael Young double play ball.

Kevin Frandsen, striking out on a check swing call, was ejected for slamming his bat to the ground in the fourth inning. This was after Bryce Harper had received nothing but a "how-ya-do" in response to almost hitting the umpire with the bat while doing the same thing.

"But it's because Harper was mad at himself and Frandsen was mad at the umpire!" says some nerd, pushing his glasses up on his nose. We were fortunate that today's game was monitored by umpires so in tune with the players' feelings.

With Cole still pitching in the seventh, Ryan Zimmerman reached on a pathetic ground ball that Freddy Galvis chose to flip to Nix with his glove. Zimmerman was called safe, though it was debatable, and wound up being an extra pain in the ass after an Adam LaRoche single and an Ian Desmond sac bunt. This put runners on second and third with only one out - but wait, Tyler Moore just walked!

So, with the bases loaded, we were off to the races.

That brought up a man somehow named "Jhonatan" Solano, who drooled a baseball to Michael Young. Young clunked a real humdinger of a throw home that was all wrist, and Quintero, who was blocking the plate for some reason despite it being a force out, couldn't handle it, and then the ball got away, but also Quintero was hurt somehow...

It was a whole big, stupid, thing. Two runs scored. But don't worry, we're just getting started.

Steve Lombardozzi then doubled to right to bring in Moore and Solano, a play during which Delmon Young proved why making a stegosaurus your everyday right fielder is problematic: first, he had to get to the ball, which took a few minutes, and then he had to pick it up, which clearly presents its own challenges. When the ball finally reached the infield, there was nobody left to field it but the Nationals Park night janitor.

At this point, with the score 5-0, Denard Span doubled in what might as well have been a billionth run off Justin De Fratus, and then Bryce Harper walked and was taken out of the game after suffering from a "destroyed human body." After that, every decent person in the Philadelphia region stopped watching.

Not me, though. I hate myself.

Strasburg eventually balked in a run, ruining the shutout. Take that, Nationals! Ha, ha, yeah!

The Nationals then got the run back immediately with a lead off double and an eventual RBI single. My memory is hazy, and I taste blood when I think too hard about it, but I think Chad Durbin was in there, somewhere.

Long Fangraph short, this game was a horrible waste of an afternoon, offered zero hope, demoralized Cole, and gave Nationals fans a smarmy sense of self-satisfaction. A real comprehensive loss.

Source: FanGraphs