Jerome Williams has been the delightful surprise of the pitching staff, and on a playoff team would be labeled one of the key pick-ups; a guy who no one expected to do well who wound up pulling his weight and then some. On this team, he's a nice surprise filling a hole until the season ends who is doing little more than nicely surprising us every five days, except for the times that he gives up 5 R, 4 ER, in only 5.0 IP, like he did tonight.
Yes, the Nationals' September surge of obnoxious run-scoring was too much for even the Phillies' second best starter, as Adam LaRoche stepped in and tagged Williams in the very first inning with a two-run bomb. Wilson Ramos swatted a sac fly in the fourth after consecutive singles from Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper to score a third run, and the most damning inning, the fifth, saw Stephen Strasburg lead off with his fifth hit of the year. A single and a double followed, pushing Strasburg across the plate, courtesy of Anthony Rendon. The Nationals appeared to be rallying, but Bryce Harper humiliated himself by striking out to end the threat.
Later, Jayson Werth hit a ground-rule double and LaRoche knocked a sac fly, blah blah blah blah. The Nationals kept adding runs as if they would actually need them.
By the seventh inning, it was 7-2, and all the Phillies had mustered was an RBI double from Ben Revere, Ryan Howard's 21st home run, and Chase Utley getting picked off first (????), an event that triggered an entirely inaccurate hash tag.
Picked off! #DontRunOnRamos— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 6, 2014
Wilson Ramos has allowed 26 stolen bases this season, catching only 15 potential stealers. So feel free to #RunOnRamos.
We also saw Maikel Franco's first career hit, which Jayson Werth cut off before it could be extra bases, like an asshole who is clearly jealous that Franco's Phillies career is just starting and he gave his up at the first scent of cold hard cash.
What this means is that Strasburg was turning the Phillies into hamburger meat all night, allowing only four hits, a single run, and five strikeouts.
In five games this year vs. the #Phillies, Strasburg now has a 1.42 ERA— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) September 6, 2014
Things got hopeful, if you still allow yourself that emotion, in the top of the eighth. Grady Sizemore reached after Anthony Rendon fielded a ball like an asshat at third, and Ben Revere drew a walk. He was replaced at first on a fielder's choice by Jimmy Rollins, and after the Nationals brought in Matt Thornton to clean up the mess, Chase Utley made things even messier with an RBI double.
Rollins went to third and scored on Ryan Howard's single, but Werh tracked down Marlon Byrd's subsequent fly ball to end the inning and keep things in reality.
Attacks on fan bases are generally dumb, but between Natitude and plagiarizing the Jets chant, Nats fans might actually be the worst.— Corinne (@Ut26) September 6, 2014
Sources confirmed that this was an accurate statement, and any attempts to dispute it are to be met by hideous screaming.
The Phillies bullpen featured a bunch of newer faces. Luis Garcia pitched a clean sixth, and Mike Adams reminded us of old times by giving up two runs in the seventh, walking a guy, and not retiring a batter. Cesar Jimenez and Justin De Fratus held strong, however, keeping the Nationals to a mere seven runs as the Phillies entered their final at-bat, the deficit 7-4.
Rafael Soriano took over to end the Phillies, but Domonic Brown stepped in and popped a single into center, despite the howling chaos happening in his brain at all times. Carlos Ruiz followed him with a soothing fly ball that just barely managed to creep into the flower bed and bring them home, making it a one-run, 7-6 game with no outs.
Maikel Franco was the next hitter, and grounded out to Asdrubal Cabrera for the first out. Cody Asche saw a chance to establish dominance as the next franchise third baseman, got overstimulated, and struck out. That left batting title contender Ben Revere, who battled Soriano, taking several breaks to walk out of the batter's box and limp around a bit, and in the end, as I was typing in a headline and preparing to click "publish," he hit the second freaking home run of his entire career to tie the game at seven with the Phillies down to their last strike.
Rafael Soriano left the game in shame.
Things descended into an extra inning grudge match until 11th, when Bryce Harper mistook Denard Span for a wall.
Cue the circus music. Harper & Span collide trying to catch Brown's fly ball. Ball drops, error on Harper. Ruiz w/sac bunt to put Ruiz at 3B— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 6, 2014
Tyler Moore went home to catch Brown at the plate on Maikel Franco's ground ball, but failed to both beat the runner and throw accurately. And the Nationals magic little September came to a pause. With Franco now on second, Ben Revere, up past his bed time, fell asleep at the plate and was still able to slap an RBI single that made it 9-7.
Jonathan Papelbon, coming in for the kill after Jake Diekman's clean 10th. He got Denard Span to fly out, whose mind was clearly still shattering over the sheer volume of Harper's inadequacies. Anthony Rendon giggled as he drew a walk, and Jayson Werth, who kept stopping the game to have a few more sucks of nutrients out of his beard, banged a single off Ben Revere's shin to put runners at second and third.
With trouble brewing, Papelbon bore down and gave up an RBI singled in Rendon. The lead was down to one, and Ian Desmond stepped in, ready to be a hero, and struck out on a foul tip. Bryce Harper held the game in his hands, and readied himself for the clear narrative: Controversial Player Screws Up, Then Redeems Himself.
As Dom Brown scrambled in to snag Harper's loopy liner and end the game, he gave a sad, distant glance to the outfield wall, as though it were a former lover in a crowd. Things would never be the same. Not after this night.