If you were to ask me a month ago how I expected this game to go, I'd probably have said "Oh my god, it's me from the future! What horrors hath beset you, future man, to make you appear so languid and ugly. Thine nostrils wag and yon pasty skin tells terrors deeper than the darkest abyss!!!" Then, after I stopped gawking at my crazy future attire, I would've told me "Eh, probably the Nationals beat the Phillies by...let's say five runs."
As it turns out, my past self would have had a pretty good idea of what this horrible future world would look like, though perhaps some of the finer points would have been hazy. Like, past me wouldn't have guessed that Sean O'Sullivan would start any game that didn't have a big ol' "SPRING TRAINING" in parentheses behind it. Nor would he have guessed that Jeff Francoeur would not only be off the bench, but in fact be batting cleanup. Nor, I suppose would he have assumed that sweet, sweet baseball savior Odubel Herrera would have 2 triples at this point in the season, one of them off Max Scherzer. But these are little things; the main point stands -- the Phillies were bad and the Nationals were good.
There wasn't really any doubt, even if it kind of seemed like there might be based on the score before the bottom of the seventh. Bryce Harper did Bryce Harper things against Sean O'Sullivan and batted a meaty home run pitch out of the stadium for what, I'm assured, is called a "home run." It scores many players all at once, really fascinating thing. Anyway, that was in the first inning, so you can imagine how good it made O'Sullivan feel about his chances of getting the win, with terrible, bad pitcher Max Scherzer on the mound. The last bit was sarcasm. I was being sarcastic.
Anyhow, O'Sullivan calmed down like he did last game and put up an okay line if you ignore his bad peripherals (2 walks and 2 strikeouts? That's called the Mayonnaise Sandwich!), only allowing a home run to Danny Espinosa in the fourth to score for the rest of his five innings. I'd make fun of O'Sullivan, compare him to Scherzer's 8 innings, nine strikeouts, no walks, and four hits, but the poor guy has to soak up awful losses like this basically as a job now. When teams need a guy to just go out there and lose, they contact Sean O'Sullivan. I'm not even beating up on the dude -- this is literally his job description now. I 100 percent hope he goes to the bullpen, learns a two seamer, and turns into Zach Duke because this being a starter who has a 5 ERA at the league minimum thing? It's just not a good look.
Did I say Scherzer was brilliant? He was. And the Nationals hit too, putting the game well, well out of reach in the seventh when a double by Ryan Zimmerman scored two, and a misplayed single by Wilson Ramos scored another. Did you know Jake Diekman was the pitcher who gave up those hits? Did you know that Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos bat right? Did you know that, according to Fangraphs, Jake Diekman has a platoon split for his career, such that he has a tremendous 192/273/238 line against 230 lefties, with 81 strikeouts to 20 walks and one home run? Did you know that his numbers against righties are the much more ghastly 263/375/399 with 100 strikeouts and 55 walks, along with 6 home runs? Did you know that he's faced 375 righties because Ryne Sandberg doesn't understand that the eighth inning isn't actually a strategic thing to overcome? Look at all the things you know now!
In the end, the Phillies broke through only twice: in the third inning when Herrera tripled and Freddy Galvis grounded out to gut in a great run to bring the game within two; and in the ninth inning, when Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Ruiz, and Ryan Howard all singled, leaving two bags occupied and one run already in, in an exciting 7-2 rally! Then Darin Ruf struck out.
Your upsides for this game are the following: Odubel Herrera is a triples machine; Jeanmar Gomez weirdly looks servicable; and Kenny Giles struck out two and walked none. Oh and the Braves are 7-3 and it's going to be hilarious when they regress to their true talent and end the year outside of the playoff picture but mediocre enough that they don't get a good draft pick. Ahahaha, Braves.
Meanwhile, the Phillies are tied with the Giants and one win ahead of the Brewers for the worst team in baseball. They're even worse than the Twins, folks. To quote the late, great John Belushi: my advice is to drink, heavily.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=1052890&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-04-17&team=Nationals&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-04-17&team=Nationals&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>
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