Stephen Strasburg

Nationals 4, Phillies 0: Phillies shut out by Stephen Strasburg and Nationals in first game of second half

Nationals 4, Phillies 0: Phillies shut out by Stephen Strasburg and Nationals in first game of second half

BOX SCORE 

The Phillies came back from the All-Star break Friday night and quickly lost more ground to a team ahead of them in the National League East.

The Phillies lost 4-0 to the Washington Nationals on Fireworks Night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils had eight hits, but just one for extra bases — a one-out double by Maikel Franco in the second inning.

The third-place Phils now trail the second-place Nats by 1 ½ game in the NL East. Atlanta entered the night with a six-game lead in the division. The Braves were playing a late game at San Diego.

In late May, the Phils led the division by 3 ½ games over Atlanta and 10 games over Washington. The Phils have lost 22 of their last 36 games while Washington, the hottest team in baseball, has gone 29-11 since May 24.

On the mound

The Phillies’ starting pitching problems continued as Nick Pivetta lasted just five innings. (He threw 87 pitches). He allowed three runs, two on three singles and a walk in the second inning.

Starter Stephen Strasburg led the Nationals with six shutout innings. He gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out six.

Strasburg is 13-2 with a 2.62 ERA in 26 career starts against the Phillies.

Washington woes

The Phillies acquired Pivetta four years ago this month from Washington in a trade for Jonathan Papelbon. Pivetta has had his problems with the Nationals. In his career, he is 1-7 with a 10.06 ERA against them.

To deal or not to deal

Club president Andy MacPhail offered his take on how the Phillies will approach the trade deadline (see story).

Arrieta update

An X-ray confirmed the presence of a bone spur in Jake Arrieta’s right elbow. He will continue to pitch and make his next start on Sunday afternoon.

Arrieta was to face Washington ace Max Scherzer, but he was scratched with back soreness. Anibal Sanchez will make the start Sunday. 

Arrieta admitted that he received a fine from Major League Baseball for threatening to dent Todd Frazier’s skull last weekend. Arrieta said the fine was in the neighborhood of $2,500. Arrieta made the threat to reporters after last Saturday’s game between the Phillies and Mets (see story).

Transactions

J.T. Realmuto missed the game while on paternity leave. He is expected back Saturday. Andrew Knapp started at catcher. The Phils added Rob Brantly from Triple A as the backup catcher. To make room for Brantly on the 40-man roster, the Phils transferred reliever Pat Neshek to the 60-day injured list. Neshek is out with a hamstring tear. He is not expected back until September, if at all.

Up next

The Phillies will send Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.74) to the mound on Saturday night. He will oppose lefty Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.34).

Nola is on a brilliant roll. Over his last four starts, he is 2-1 with a 0.61 ERA. He has allowed just 14 hits and two earned runs in 29 2/3 innings over that span. He has struck out 34 and walked eight.

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Nationals 10, Phillies 6 (10 innings): Bryce Harper, bats give Aaron Nola 4-run lead but things fall apart late

Nationals 10, Phillies 6 (10 innings): Bryce Harper, bats give Aaron Nola 4-run lead but things fall apart late

BOX SCORE

Bryce Harper homered for the second time in a week against his former team and the Phillies spotted Aaron Nola a four-run lead, but things fell apart late in a 10-6 loss Tuesday night. Juan Soto delivered the game-winning blow for the Nationals, a towering three-run home run over the foul pole in right field in the 10th inning off left-hander Jose Alvarez.

Earlier in the night, the Phillies built a 6-2 lead on a three-run homer from Harper, a solo shot from Maikel Franco and a two-run triple by Jean Segura, all off Stephen Strasburg.

The Harper home run, his second against his former team in the last seven days, capped off a high-stress third inning for Strasburg, who had cruised through the first two. He lasted just four innings.

With Pat Neshek and David Robertson unavailable after appearing three times each in the last four days, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler turned to Edubray Ramos in the ninth inning to preserve a one-run lead. Ramos came within one strike of recording his second career save when Victor Robles tied the game with a solo shot.

The loss makes the Phillies 7-3 as they go for the series win Wednesday night.

Early offense, another early send-off

Strasburg threw just 20 pitches through two innings but needed 63 to complete the third and fourth and that was his night. 

In the third, Franco hit his fourth home run of the season and Harper matched him four batters later. 

An inning later, Segura hit a two-run triple to put the Phillies up four runs.

Strasburg had allowed multiple home runs to the Phillies just once in his last 21 starts before Tuesday night. This is, of course, a much different team capable of frustrating young pitchers and established All-Stars alike.

Nola strong until the seventh

There were some questions about Nola coming into this start after a five-walk season debut and a three-homer follow-up. 

Early on, he was sharp, allowing a first-inning run but maxing out at 95.7 mph after registering a top speed of 94.0 mph in his most recent start, his lowest max speed in 34 starts.

Nola allowed single runs in the first and sixth innings before a rocky seventh. A Franco throwing error began the inning, Yan Gomes followed with a two-run homer and pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick went deep two batters later.

Through three starts, Nola is 1-0 with a 6.46 ERA.

The schedule always seems to align for Nola to face the Nationals. This was his 17th career start against them compared to 10 vs. the Marlins and nine vs. the Mets.

Mostly solid infield defense

Prior to Franco's costly seventh-inning error, the Phillies' infield did serious work behind Nola. Rhys Hoskins had a diving catch at first base, Franco made a diving stop at third, Segura charged and barehanded a dribbler to nab a baserunner and later ranged up the middle and fired a strike to get the speedy Adam Eaton.

Beyond that, the Phillies turned two double plays, including one that Nola started on a sharp comebacker.

Up next

The Phillies finish up the three-game series against the Nationals Wednesday night at 7:05.

It's Nick Pivetta (1-0, 6.52) against former Phillie Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 9.00).

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A bounce-back chance for Aaron Nola as Phillies look to pile on Nationals

A bounce-back chance for Aaron Nola as Phillies look to pile on Nationals

Aaron Nola is back on the hill for the Phillies Tuesday night in an attempt to get back on track after a pair of uncharacteristic outings.

In his first start, Nola was a victim of a tight strike zone and walked a career-high five batters, though he was able to maneuver his way around the free passes to allow just one run over six innings.

Last Thursday in D.C., Nola allowed a career-high three home runs to the Nationals in his worst start since September 2017.

A great pitching matchup is on tap tonight with Nola (1-0, 7.00) opposing Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 2.84).

When: 7:05 p.m. ET — Pregame Live starts at 6:30
Where: NBC Sports Philadelphia+ and streaming live on NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app 

2 close wins

The Phillies' victories Sunday and Monday were almost more impressive than their first-week offensive breakouts. You know that this Phillies team will bash the ball around the yard and hit home runs, but the big question was whether they could protect close leads.

In consecutive games, the Phils have won by one run. In consecutive games, they've thrown a runner out at the plate and not walked anyone. It's the first time since July 2016 that Phillies pitchers have gone two straight games without issuing a free pass.

Good teams win games like Sunday against the Twins and Monday against the Nationals. 

Last season, the Phillies went 32-69 when scoring four or fewer runs. So far this season, they’re 2-1. 

It looks like David Robertson has corrected himself, which would be a major boost to the Phils' bullpen.

Hoskins' power binges

Rhys Hoskins' power really does come in bunches. He has four homers and nine RBI over his last four games, and get this: Of his last 31 home runs, 19 have occurred in back-to-back games.

When the guy gets his timing down, he is fun to watch. The only National Leaguer with more RBI than Hoskins' 15 is Cody Bellinger.

On Monday, he adjusted midgame after a poor first at-bat against Anibal Sanchez in which he swung through two pitches in the low-inside part of the zone. 

He is not missing many mistake pitches right now, and Hoskins' solid approach has led to consistent power. He is mostly wrists and lower-body, as opposed to the herky-jerky power of Bryce Harper.

Gotta go to Mo

Adam Morgan continues to quietly thrive. He has faced 17 batters this season and just two have reached base. 

His slider has turned into a real weapon. He's allowed just one extra-base hit on a slider the last 383 times he's thrown it, and this season batters have whiffed or made an out on 12 of the 18 sliders they've swung at.

Morgan pitched a clean seventh inning Monday and seems to be climbing the list of relievers Gabe Kapler is confident in.

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