If you checked the forecast for the D.C. area for Sunday afternoon, there appeared to be little-to-no chance the Phillies squeezed their game in. However, with little options, and an extended period of lighter rain, the Nationals and Phils agreed to give it a go.
Zack Wheeler took the ball understood his assignment from the start of the game. After his offense came up empty in the top of the first, the right-hander shut down the Nats in the bottom half of the inning.
The bats chipped in during the top of the second frame, as Bryson Stott grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Nick Castellanos and open the scoring.
Wheeler ramped up his fastball in the bottom of the second inning, consistently sitting at 97 mph and striking out the side in order.
The third inning was zeros for both teams as the rain continued to muddy the field and come down at a steady rate. However, it was not without drama. Bryson Stott committed his eighth error of the year, putting runners on the corners with no outs. J.T. Realmuto then caught a runner attempting to steal second and Wheeler locked it in to keep the Nationals scoreless.
Fortunately, Philadelphia’s offense struck for more in the top of the fourth inning. Bryson Stott came through once again, this time with a two-RBI double to score Matt Vierling and Jean Segura. The hit extends Stott’s hitting streak to four straight games as he breaks free from a slump and redeems his earlier miscue.
Bryson Stott put a good swing on this one through the rain in D.C. pic.twitter.com/CSn1nKZGs1— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 2, 2022
Bryce Harper jumped on the hit parade with a base hit of his own to score Stott and push the Phillies lead to 4-0. Wheels continued to shut down Washington through the fourth inning as he allowed just one hit and no walks through four.
With five innings on their minds, the marking of an official ballgame, and rain continuing to puddle on the field, the Phillies bats poured it on in the top of the fifth.
Kyle Schwarber ripped a bases loaded single to left, clearing ‘em all and extending the lead to 7-0 in favor of the visitors.
Just your average 3-run single from Kyle Schwarber pic.twitter.com/5QeqQwMDX1— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 2, 2022
The bottom of the fifth was much of the same success for Zack Wheeler. The 32-year-old allowed a double to Cesar Hernandez but held the former Phillie there. Wheels then picked up his seventh strikeout as the game became official, as five innings were complete.
Although the conditions continued to worsen, both teams marched back out for the top of the sixth inning. J.T. Realmuto was glad they decided to play on, as the catcher blasted his 22nd long ball of the season, on a solo shot to right. The pitch was not a strike.
At 77 pitches, Zack Wheeler’s afternoon was done, as was his 2022 regular season. If the Phillies can clinch an NL Wild Card spot, we could see the ace Friday night, in Game One of the NLWCS.
Andrew Bellatti took over as the sixth inning began and did so by striking out the first batter he faced. The 31-year-old followed that up by walking Lane Thomas. C.J. Abrams then pulled a ground ball down the first base line that took an odd bounce, resulting in a double. It was literally ruled a double due to poor field conditions.
Update from Nationals Park: The official scorer just gave C.J. Abrams a double on a routine grounder to first base "due to field conditions."— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) October 2, 2022
Joey Meneses took advantage, grounding into a fielder’s choice and scoring Thomas to finally put Washington on the board.
After six complete, the tarp returned to the field as we entered a rain delay. The field was unplayable and there was little potential in the forecast for conditions to improve.
As predicted, the conditions did not improve and the game was called after six innings. Your final, Phillies 8, Nationals 1.
Next up, a date with the Astros on Monday night with an 8:10pm first pitch. Off to Houston with the magic number at two.