Nationals

Quick Links

Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 2

Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 2

Game in a nutshell: Who says Roy Halladay isn't still Roy Halladay? He sure looked like his old, Cy Young self tonight, cruising through the Nationals lineup with ease. His only blip: a two-run single surrendered to Steve Lombardozzi in the fifth, with Kurt Suzuki pulling off a nifty slide around catcher Erik Kratz to score the second run. Otherwise, Halladay was brilliant, out-dueling Gio Gonzalez, who gave up two runs in the first and then gave up the go-ahead run on John Mayberry Jr.'s leadoff homer in the sixth. Now trailing by a run, the Nationals couldn't muster anymore offense against Halladay or the Phillies bullpen, then gave up a costly insurance run in the eighth when Chase Utley was hit by a pitch, stole second and third bases and scored on Mayberry's sacrifice fly. Thus the Nationals lost their second straight 4-2 game in this ballpark and their third game in a row overall, seeing their lead over the Braves slip to 5 12 games in the process.

Hitting lowlight: They didn't have very many chances against Halladay, so the Nationals might have figured they'd have a better opportunity to score the tying (or go-ahead run) off the Phillies bullpen. They didn't. Left-hander Antonio Bastardo (who entered with a 5.35 ERA) struck out the side in the top of the eighth, getting Bryce Harper to whiff at a 90 mph high fastball, Ryan Zimmerman to swing and miss at a 93 mph outside fastball and Adam LaRoche to flail away at a 3-2 offspeed pitch. That seemed to sum up the Nationals' night at the plate. When they needed to get something going against a beatable pitcher, they couldn't even put the ball in play.

Pitching highlightlowlight: The way his night began, Gonzalez appeared to be in serious trouble. He gave up two runs in the top of the first, throwing 31 pitches and falling behind just about everyone. But to his credit, the left-hander battled his way back to a quality start. He found the strike zone with more regularity, made more Phillies swing and miss and kept his pitch count to a relative minimum. Then one costly mistake to open the sixth inning: a high fastball to Mayberry spoiled Gonzalez's night. That solo homer broke a 2-2 tie, put the Nats in a hole and prevented Gio from a shot at earning his league-leading 17th win of the season.

Key stat: Halladay threw 86 of his 105 pitches for strikes tonight, an 82 percent rate.

Up next: The series concludes Sunday afternoon when Jordan Zimmermann (coming off his worst start of the season) faces Cliff Lee at 1:35 p.m.

Quick Links

Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

usatsi_10333033_141983962_lowres.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

It's been a week since the air was sucked out of D.C. in the Nationals Game 5, 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

And now that we've had a few days to decompress from another early D.C. playoff exit, Nats right fielder Bryce Harper decided to take some time to thank fans for their support this season.

Harper posted an Instagram video Wednesday afternoon, with a fresh cut, and thanked fans for continuing to pack Nats Park. In the video he says he looks forward to "chasing that championship" again next spring. 

The 2017 season could be described as a rough one for Harper after missing the last few weeks of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee. 

Harper had a .319 average during the 2017 season, along with 29 home runs, 97 RBI's, 95 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. He is entering the final year of his contract.

RELATED: 20 THINGS SAD D.C. SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT

National Fans. Thank you!💯 #RedLightRecording

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

Quick Links

Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

usatsi_10342243.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.