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RISP-y Business: Nationals 2, Phillies 1

An ugly offensive performance.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Phillies dropped the first of their three -game series with the Nationals by a final score of 2-1. A two-run home run from Stone Garrett in the second inning was all the offense Washington needed, as Philadelphia went 1-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven men on base.

Christopher Sanchez pitched well for the Phillies but was let down by his offense and his defense. Trea Turner’s throwing error in the second put a runner on base before Sanchez served up the homer to Garrett. It was the only runs Sanchez allowed, as he finished six innings while allowing seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

Bryson Stott scored on an Alec Bohm single to left after a single of his own to cut the lead to 2-1. But Bohm was then picked off first for the third out after Brandon Marsh struck out swinging for the second out.

Missed Opportunities

The Phillies had numerous chances to tie the game or even take the lead, but they struggled to get anything off of Nats’ starter Josiah Gray. Gray also went six innings but allowed just the one run on six hits with 8 K’s. Washington pitching as a whole racked up 12 total strikeouts to just one walk.

Philadelphia had a golden opportunity to score some runs in the sixth when Turner and Nick Castellanos both singled to start the inning. Turner then stole third to make it runners on the corners with no outs. But then Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto both popped up to the infield on just four total pitches. Harper’s power struggles have been well documented, but Realmuto is hitting .191 with 17 Ks in 13 games since hitting for the cycle. Bryson Stott worked the count full with two outs but struck out swinging on a 96 MPH fastball up and out of the zone.

They had yet another chance the following inning after Alec Bohm ripped a leadoff double to left center field. But Brandon Marsh and Kody Clemens both struck out before Kyle Schwarber grounded out to second to end the inning.

Recurring theme

The Phillies offense came alive in their sweep of the Cubs, but Friday night saw the return of their season-long problem. Philadelphia entered the game 23rd in average with RISP at .243, 27th in OPS (.689), and 29th in slugging (.348). With these problems persisting and Clemens’ June swoon (.194/.217/.254), it’s puzzling that the team has opted to leave Darick Hall in Triple A. Hall is hitting .321 with a .941 OPS and 3 home runs in 20 games with Lehigh Valley after returning from his April thumb injury.

Chance to win

The Phillies bullpen was extremely effective in relief of Sanchez. Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm both pitched perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts each. Andrew Vasquez allowed one hit in the ninth but no runs and picked up a strikeout.

But once again, the Phillies ended the game with a feeble ninth inning offensive effort, as
Stott, Bohm, and Marsh went down on just 10 pitches, nine of which were for strikes.