Having lost five games in a row and coming precipitously close to losing their hold on the National League’s final playoff spot, a series against the Washington Nationals was a welcome sight for the Phillies. No matter what else has happened this season, a game against the Nats has been as close to a guaranteed win as you can get in baseball. On Friday afternoon, the Phillies - with a few exceptions - didn’t play all that well, but thanks to the ineptitude of their opponent, they emerged with a desperately needed 5-1 win.
The Nationals had Erick Fedde on the mound, and that usually means a lot of runs for the Phillies’ offense. It was promising when Rhys Hoskins took Fedde deep in the first.
But even Fedde wasn’t enough to cure the Phillies’ problems with leaving runners on base. After Hoskins’ homer, the Phillies left two runners on base in the first, another in the third, and despite getting a run in the inning, they missed out on a big fourth by stranding two more.
Perhaps the Phillies’ best strategy would be to just stand on base and let the Nats send the runners home themselves.
3-0 Phillies On A Balk. pic.twitter.com/d61oTKDOOE— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthewCFB) September 30, 2022
The Nats’ lineup isn’t filled with big hitting threats, so a 3-0 lead should have felt safe. And for the most part, it did thanks to another solid outing by Bailey Falter. Despite the bullpen warming up for his final two innings, Falter went six without allowing a run.
In the ninth, the Phillies actually both got runners on base AND got them home, giving them a four-run cushion. With another game scheduled for tonight, it was questionable whether manager Rob Thomson should turn to closer Seranthony Dominguez. But with the weather report looking very rainy, and the Phillies desperately needing a win, Dominguez got the call.
Unfortunately, Dominguez’s recent shakiness continued. He loaded the bases thanks to two walks and a single, and then with two outs, was unable to put away Cesar Hernandez who fouled off four pitches.
Naturally, Cesar Hernandez spontaneously developed the ability to foul off countless 99 MPH pitches— Smarty is done with the Phillies (@TheSmartyJones) September 30, 2022
Finally, Dominguez coaxed a ground ball, and the Phillies were victorious for the first time in five games.
With rain predicted to fall all weekend, the Phillies might get to savor this win for a few days. When they eventually do return to the field, let’s hope they can continue to do what must be done against an overmatched opponent.