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Well It Wasn’t Castellanos’s Fault: Phillies 7 Nationals 8

The Philadelphia Phillies are now tied for last place in the National League East.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies came into tonight’s game ranked dead last in on-base percentage at .266. For context, it’s thirteen points lower than the second-to-last Kansas City Royals, the second-worst team in the sport behind the Oakland Athletics. So, Rob Thomson changed the lineup around to create a spark for a team six games under .500.

Kyle Schwarber hit leadoff for the first time since the beginning of May and unlike last time, he pulled a slider into right field for a single. Bryson Stott was hitting second for the second time in his career and drew a seven-pitch walk.

It worked out perfectly until it didn’t. Bryce Harper struck out swinging on a Josiah Gray high fastball, Nick Castellanos hit a flyball to left, and new five-hole hitter Trea Turner struck out on a slider.

It came right back to haunt them, the Washington Nationals are about as pesky as it gets. They have a top-five batting average in baseball and a bottom-ten slugging percentage. In other words, they like to put the ball in play.

Zack Wheeler walked Lane Thomas on nine pitches. With one out, Jeimer Candelario slapped a double just out of the reach of Schwarber to make it 1-0. Joey Meneses got a sinker in on his hands to bloop right in front of Castellanos to put runners on first and third. Corey Dickerson then took a first-pitch fastball to center field to make it 2-0.

It took Wheeler 26 pitches to get out of a first inning that wasn’t entirely his fault.

The Phillies are trying everything. In the second, Marsh hit a single right back up the middle for a one-out hit. They called for a hit and run multiple times on a 2-2 count, Kody Clemens struck out but Marsh stole second.

Drew Ellis worked an impressive walk to set up Schwarber to redeem himself, but he never got the chance. Keibert Ruiz threw behind a leaning Ellis to record out number three.

The bad baseball continued, CJ Abrams hit a line drive to center that Marsh should’ve caught. Then Alex Call poked a high fastball to right to make it 3-0. Luis García slapped a seeing-eye single up the middle to put runners on first and third with two outs.

To make it worse, Candelario pulled a hanging curveball off the right field wall, two runs scored to make it 5-0. Joey Meneses then worked an eleven-pitch at bat, pulled a sinker to left, and made it 6-0.

Nick Castellanos started the fourth inning off taking a deep drive to right-center field for a home run. Which made it a 6-1 ball game.

After this disaster of a joke, I’m not sure I’ll be in this chair again.

García poked an opposite-field homer to end Wheeler’s night. 3.2 innings, 3 strikeouts, 8 hits, 7 earned runs.

Andrew Vazquez came in and continued to do a nice job eating innings out of the bullpen. Vasquez went 1.1 innings, recorded two strikeouts, and brought his ERA down to 1.35 for the season.

In the sixth with one out and Stott at first, Castellanos hit his second bomb of the night off a slider that was barely in the zone.

Turner then pulled a slider down the left field line for a double to end Gray’s night.

Carl Edwards Jr came in and with two outs, Marsh slapped a single to left and made it a 7-4 game.

After an Ellis punch out, Schwarber made Thomson’s decision payoff with a double down the right field line. Stott hit a ball right up the middle for an infield single. Hunter Harvey came in and immediately walked Harper on four pitches.

Castellanos hit a single right back up the middle to give himself 5 RBIs on the night and pulled the deficit to 1.

Harvey stepped up after that, locking Turner down looking with a perfect fastball on the outside part of the plate. JT Realmuto then hit a groundout to third.

Jeff Hoffman came in for the seventh to keep them in the game. After recording a smooth first two outs including a sick snag off a comebacker, Hoffman ran into trouble. Meneses walked on seven pitches and Dickerson slapped a single right back up the middle. After a wild pitch, Hoffman got out of it with a Dominic Smith flyout.

The Phillies kept on fighting in the eighth. Mason Thompson came in for the Nationals and had an adventure. Marsh drew a nine-pitch walk after starting off down two strikes. After a Kody Clemens flyout, Drew Ellis recorded his first hit of 2023, pulling a single to left. Nationals manager Dave Martinez had enough and brought Kyle Finnegan in to try and get out of the jam.

Schwarber took a single right back to second base where Abrams stepped on the second base bag but made an errant throw to Smith, allowing Marsh to score and tie the game at 7.

Connor Brogdon came in the bottom of the eighth and after recording the first two outs with ease, the Nationals got to him. He walked Call on five pitches, threw a wild pitch, and hung a changeup for Thomas to bloop a single to center and give the Nationals the lead.

Martinez put the trust right back into Finnegan’s hand to close out the game. Castellanos recorded his fourth hit of the night with one out, smoking a double to right center field. Dalton Guthrie came in to run but it didn’t matter.

We know what Turner’s struggles have been like, he got back into a two-strike count before flying out to right. Turner and the team’s struggles have masked JT Realmuto’s massive slump. Over his last 13 games heading into tonight, Realmuto is 3 for 38. He went 0 for 5 and popped out to first to end the game.

The Phillies are now 25-32 and have lost their last five games. They’re tied with the Nationals for last place in the National League East and tied for the fourth-worst record in the NL.