Anyone hoping that the Phillies would start the second half of the season on a strong note was left disappointed on Friday. Instead, Stephen Strasburg and three Nationals relievers combined to shut out the Phillies as they fell to the Nationals 4-0.
Nick Pivetta has had well-publicized struggles against the Nationals throughout his career, and early on, it looked like he was in for another long night. The Nationals loaded the bases in the second inning, and a Victor Robles single drove in two runs.
Juan Soto BB— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 12, 2019
Ryan Zimmerman 1B
Kurt Suzuki 1B
Victor Robles 2-run 1B
ZIM head-first slide into home
END 2 // #Nats 2, Phillies 0 pic.twitter.com/tJlF3ZcPdR
The Nats tacked on another run in the third, but that was the extent of the damage. It’s somewhat sad that three runs in five innings can be considered a huge step forward for Pivetta, but that’s where we are.
The Phillies had a few opportunities of their own against Strasburg, but they were unable to capitalize. In the first inning, Jay Bruce fouled out with two runners aboard. In the fourth, Andrew Knapp had a chance with two runners on. Predictably, it didn’t end well.
Andrew Knapp got hit on the foot and called out on a strike three out of the zone in one at-bat.— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) July 12, 2019
The second half isn’t off to a great start for the Phillies.
Knapp’s failure was no surprise, but in the fifth, Rhys Hoskins came to the plate with two men on. Unfortunately, he lined out to left to end the threat. After that, they didn’t mount much resistance.
There are still 71 games left to play in the season, and I’m sure that many of them will be better than Friday’s. But that doesn’t change the fact that this was an extremely disappointing way to start the second half of the season.