This should really be the space in which we learn that tonight, Maikel Franco and Bryce Harper both hit home runs that brought down satellites. The comms grid for several neighborhoods crashed as a result and South Philly’s natural “hysteria” has been upgraded to “hot-mouthed derangement” by several unverified news sources.
Instead, we have to talk about how Aaron Nola unraveled like a sweater, Edubray Ramos blew the save, and Juan Alvarez put the four finishing touches on another loss to the Nationals that should have been a win.
Let’s start with Nola. An uptick in velocity early on brought hope that his last two starts had been a mirage. But no, you were fully awake the whole time, and continued to be this evening, when Nola allowed a 6-2 Phillies lead to slip away. Despite allowing a run on a sacrifice fly in the first, Nola appeared to be the version of himself that makes everyone more comfortable for a few innings. He outlasted Stephen Strasburg, who was pounded through four frames. Franco and Harper hit their home runs off him, and a two-RBI triple from Jean Segura that made it 6-2 looked like the killing blow with Nola cruising.
All Washington needed was a salvo of home runs and the swaying of the entire momentum in their direction. This all happened, over the course of the sixth inning through the end of the game. Anthony Rendon—who is a .295 hitter vs. the Phillies in his career—hit a double that cut the Phillies’ lead to 6-4 in the sixth, but in the seventh, Nola watched Yan Gomes and Howie Kendrick crush a couple of reasons for Gabe Kapler to come out and get him before the end of the inning.
Are Aaron Nola's gopherball issues becoming a thing?— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 10, 2019
Opening Day 2018 through August -- 8 HR in 27 starts
Since then -- 13 HR in 9 starts
In the ninth inning, with the score 6-5, Ramos came on in relief following successful-ish outings from Seranthony Dominguez—used once again in an earlier, lower leverage situation—and Hector Neris—who walked his way into trouble, yet managed to pitch his way out of it.
Ramos would not be the hero; not with Victor Robles finding one of his home run strokes with two outs and two strikes and more than two people ready to turn in. Instead, the game was tied at 6-6 and a tenth inning began that ended worse for the Phillies as the ninth. They managed to slap some bats together and got two runners on base before a J.T. Realmuto line out ended their rally, and sadly, the Nationals were permitted to bat in the top of the inning, despite the Phanatic standing right there with a hot dog gun.
That’s where the trouble began. Juan Soto crushed a clearly foul three-run shot off Juan Alvarez that was allowed to count for some reason, and Robles came back up to double in an additional score just so the Nationals’ rally could produce a legal run. It was still 10-6 when Franco flew out to end the game.
So, for those reasons, this space is being used to tell you all that information, instead of something cheeky and fun about how potent the Phillies’ offense is. When the pitching faltered tonight, the bats disappeared, too, and the Phillies were forced to try and win a game solely with good vibes. This failed.