As soon as we hit the bottom of the ninth with the game still tied and Bryce Harper due up, I knew the Phillies were going to lose the game. It’s not even just that Harper was coming up — sometimes you get a feeling. Lately, I’ve gotten that “The Phillies are going to lose” feeling every time they have a lead. At any time. In any game. Versus any opponent.
The Phillies lost 6-4 to the Nationals tonight. And wouldn’t you know it, at one point they had a four-to-nothing lead that they lost, and then they weren’t able to keep the game tied until they could manage to score a run.
The Phillies worked Nats starter Tanner Roark in the fourth and fifth innings. For a guy that the Phillies have little luck against, and who’s usually pretty good with his command, he didn’t look that great tonight. He struggled, and the Phillies scored three in the fourth and one more in the fifth. The fourth started with a walk from Cesar Hernandez, two outs, and then a walk from Tommy Joseph. Three straight singles came next, from Michael Saunders, Maikel Franco, and Cameron Rupp. Nick Pivetta notched his very first major league hit in the fifth inning, and even though the Phillies would get two outs before he went anywhere, he ended up crossing home plate to score the Phillies’ fourth run of the night.
After a small hiccup near the start of the game, Nick Pivetta was cruising until the fifth inning. And then he just couldn’t stop the bleeding. There were two outs and a man on third base, and in five batters the score was tied. Trea Turner hit a two-run home run, and Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run double.
The Phillies have continuing issues with starters pitching far into games. In fact, no Phillies starter has made it to the eighth inning — at all. None of them have thrown a single pitch in the eighth all year. A little more extreme:
For the 19th time in 33 games, a Phillies starter has failed to pitch six innings.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) May 14, 2017
Tommy Joseph was everyone’s favorite hitter of the night, going two-for-three with a walk, but it didn’t end up mattering. Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off of Edubray Ramos, saving the Phillies the trouble of playing extra innings, and saving them the trouble of winning altogether.
It hasn’t been fun to watch the Phillies during this stretch of games. And they’ve got two games tomorrow. Buckle up, for only the strong will survive tomorrow’s twin bill.