This was a very good game. This was a game I'd watch over and over again. This was a game in which the Phillies trolled the Nationals hard, and the Nats responded by melting down in entertaining fashion.
Aaron Harang ended up not factoring into this game at all. He went six innings with the only real slip-up coming in the second, when he gave up back-to-back home runs to Ian Desmond and Matt den Dekker. The only other black mark on Harang's record was in the bottom of the third when he gave up a long single to Nats' starter Gio Gonzales. Gonzalez came into this game 3-for-40, which his a .075 average.
Gio wasn't long for the game, though. In the top of the sixth, he came out of the dugout firing meatballs, giving up three straight singles to Aaron Harang, Freddy Galvis, and Andres Blanco. With the bases loaded, Gonzalez walked Aaron Altherr to score the Phillies' first run. And then, to my utter delight, he walked Darin Ruf to tie the game. Gonzales was pulled and the Nationals managed to hold off the Phillies and any prevent any other runs from scoring.
Jeanmar Gomez coughed up two runs in the seventh, and it was so late in the game that I figured that it was all over. But it was Jeff Francoeur, who wore his socks high tonight, who evened the score in the eighth. He hit a two-run homer off Casey Janssen and everybody had to start over.
Matt Williams brought Felipe Rivero in to face Asche in the eighth after Frenchy tied the game, but he allowed Asche to single and Williams went to the bullpen again, very very very very slowly. Slowly. Incredibly slowly. First Jose Lobaton went to the mound. Then Matt Williams ambled out. They talked for bit, ice ages came and went, and then he took the ball from Rivero and called for Jonathan Papelbon, who had been warming up this entire time.
Jonathan Papelbon. As if this game hadn't been interesting enough.
Papelbon got the last out of the eighth, and was in the dugout when Bryce Harper flied out to start the inning. There were words between them — Papelbon appeared to be mocking Harper, or taking issue with how he ran out that fly ball. Harper passes Papelbon on the dugout stairs and stands below him as they continue to exchange words. And then Papelbon GOES FOR HARPER'S THROAT.
Jonathan Papelbon attacking Bryce Harper? Jonathan Papelbon attacking Bryce Harper. pic.twitter.com/T2qof97Ymh— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) September 27, 2015
I don't know who Jonathan Papelbon thinks he is, but he clearly has a death wish going for Bryce Harper, because Harper could straight up kill him. Has Papelbon even SEEN Bryce Harper?!
This whole fight did nothing but bury this AMAZING catch from Aaron Altherr in the bottom of the eighth.
I mean, holy shit. That's extraordinary.
So, do you think Matt Williams sent Papelbon out to pitch the ninth?
Matt Williams SENT HIM BACK OUT THERE?— Nathan Bernhardt (@jonbernhardt) September 27, 2015
HE DID! He took Harper out and let Papelbon pitch the ninth. I don't know what Matt Williams is doing. His assclown of a closer put his hands ON THE THROAT of the future of the entire franchise, and he lets him take the mound. It was a good thing for the Phillies, though. After Galvis walked, Blanco hit a two-run home run off Papelbon to start off what would be a eight-run inning for the Phillies, breaking the tie and putting them up 12-4. It was circus of an inning, too. After the homer, Pap couldn't get his mojo back (but who could after almost strangling someone) and he loaded the bases after an error, a walk, and hitting Odubel Herrara with a pitch. Papelbon was pulled, but every single one of those baserunners would end up crossing home plate. Sammy Solis replaced Pap, and his mess started when another error allowed Asche to reach. A single scored Ruf, and then Brian Bogusevic singled, followed by a single from Galvis, and then another single from Blanco, who homered to start this delightful turn of events.
After the bloodletting, the Nationals scored a meaningless run off of Ken Giles on their way to losing the game, the series, and any chance they had of retaining their dignity. I loved every minute of it.
The Nationals are a huge disaster of a team.
The best part of the Nationals trading for Jonathan Papelbon is that he's still under contract for next year. Good luck with that, guys.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) September 27, 2015
GM wanted a closer but ownership didn't want to add '15 payroll so the Nats got Pap by guaranteeing '16 option. Utter top-down failure.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) September 27, 2015
God I'm so happy.