By: Matthew Mack
As Philadelphia fans heal from the Philadelphia 76ers early playoff exit. The Philadelphia Phillies returned to Citizens Bank Park to face the Washington Nationals for a two-game series. After being shut-out from winning during the West Coast road trip. They looked to rebound in hopes of getting back in the win column.
Tuesday night, Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler locked horns on the hill to start the game. Unlike when Wheeler faced Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles, he had a short outing with three innings pitched. He threw 73 pitches, allowed six hits, gave up three runs, and had four strikeouts with a walk. The hitter who vexed him were Yan Gomes and Josh Bell who got runners home. The only offensive output Philly got was from Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins home runs. Scherzer had to be checked for foreign substances and it did nothing to stop him. Two innings later, Scherzer finished the inning only to stare down Phillies manager Joe Girardi as he walked towards the Nationals dugout. Girardi took offense to it, only to be tossed by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. In the Ninth, Philly loaded the bases in an attempt to win the game. It never came to fruition as Hoskins grounded out to end the game Three-two.
In today’s game, Philly had every opportunity to win. They had a five-zero lead to start the game thanks to two home runs by Bryce Harper and Travis Jankowski. Starting pitcher Vinny Velasquez helped his own cause with an RBI. However, the Nationals stormed right back in the very next inning to tie the game. Kyle Schwarber slammed a three-run bomb to tie the game at five. Philly answered right back with a grand slam home run by Andrew McCutchen to retake the lead Nine-five only to blow it again in the very next inning. In the Sixth inning, Washington answered back with a six run inning. This scoring surge included a Trea Turner two run single and a Josh Bell grand slam. As this game was going back and forth, pitching was nowhere to be found as the high scoring onslaught continued. Philadelphia was able to get the lead back in the eighth as Ronald Torreyes hit an RBI single. The score was 12-11. As closer Héctor Neris came out in the ninth. To end this wild baseball game. He could not close the door. Starlin Castro hit the game winning two-run RBI single for the Nationals to win it, 13-12.
Instead of trying to win games. The Phillies instead added to the embarrassment sandwich that is this week in Philadelphia sports. They are having a hard time getting solid pitching from the starting rotation. Blowing leads and having a hard time maintaining leads is a bad sign. As they get ready to go into New York to face the Mets. They look like a bad team in desperate need of some help. With the trade deadline looming next month. They do not have many assets to trade with unless they want to trade more promising talent. With all these things going on, they need to find a way to turn things around. Being 34-37 at this point in the season means they are a mediocre team that’s drowning. It is gut check time for the Phillies.