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

Have the Nationals missed their opportunity to re-sign Anthony Rendon?

Have the Nationals missed their opportunity to re-sign Anthony Rendon?

Despite numerous conversations and GM Mike Rizzo's assurances that a deal will get done, the Nationals and third baseman Anthony Rendon still have not come to an agreement on a new deal.

But that stalling might have cost the Nationals. According to Grant Paulsen on Tuesday's Grant & Danny show on 106.7 The Fan, the Nats have missed their opportunity to re-sign him. Rendon becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

"Here's something I heard from someone who recently talked to Scott Boras," Paulsen said. "Apparently, he told that person that the Nationals already missed the boat on getting a deal done with Anthony Rendon." 

"Now, that's up to Anthony Rendon, not Scott Boras. And I think that's probably an agent starting to float (interest in Rendon)," Paulsen continued. "If I'm Scott Boras, I would want people to think it's too late. But he is at least already telling people the Nationals missed the boat."

The optics of losing Rendon and outfielder Bryce Harper in back-to-back seasons is something that fans are already thinking about.

"What would it look like if he walked within a calendar year of Bryce walking?" Paulsen said. "And this is an organization that was a division winner year in year out, a playoff team, precipice of a World Series run perhaps. And in a span of two off-seasons, you could have lost your two best players."

"The history says already this team doesn't pay their own guys a lot of money," Paulsen noted. "I would wonder and worry about the health of the fan base, baseball in D.C. as a growing entity and as this beloved organization if the Lerner's allowed Anthony Rendon to walk."

One place Rendon could end up would be in his home state of Texas should he choose to walk.

"A team with immense money is the Texas Rangers," Paulsen explained. "Anthony Rendon is from Texas. That would make a lot of sense."

Paulsen's position is the Nats need to sign Rendon soon before he hits free agency.

"If I'm the Nats, Grant Lerner, I'm putting a $250 million offer in front of the guy today."

MORE NATIONALS NEWS

Quick Links

Adam Eaton calls Todd Frazier ‘childish’ after the ex-teammates get into it again

adam-eaton-frazier.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Adam Eaton calls Todd Frazier ‘childish’ after the ex-teammates get into it again

NEW YORK -- Normal is not something the Nationals do this season.

Monday’s pivot from the mundane -- an otherwise run-of-the-mill 5-3 baseball game -- came when Adam Eaton was jogging toward the visitors dugout in the bottom of the third inning when he stopped to respond to New York third baseman Todd Frazier, whom Eaton said was chirping at him all night.

This is not new. The two were teammates on the Chicago White Sox in 2016 and did not get along. Last year, Frazier and Eaton also had an exchange. The one Monday night at Citi Field prompted several members of the Nationals to hop over the dugout railing while Frazier and Eaton were being restrained near the first base bag. First base umpire Mike Estabrook cutoff Eaton who was walking toward Frazier after initially heading to the dugout following a 4-6-3 double play which ended the inning for the Nationals. When Frazier came toward the Mets dugout from his position at third base, the two began their spat.

Afterward, Frazier declined to comment in the Mets’ clubhouse, saying only, “It was nothing.” Eaton took the opportunity to expound on his displeasure with the incident, its continuation and Frazier himself.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Eaton said. “Gosh, who knows what goes through that guy’s mind? He’s chirping all the way across the infield. He must really like me, [because] he wants to get my attention it seems like every time we come into town, he really cares what I think about him. I don’t know what his deal is, if he wants to talk to me in person or have a visit or what it is. But he’s always yelling across the infield at me, making a habit of it.

“He’s one of those guys who always says it loud enough that you hear it but can’t understand it. So, he’s making a habit of it. I ignored him a couple times chirping coming across, but I had it to the point where I’m not going to say the saying I want to say but you got to be a man at some point. So, I turned around, had a few choice words with him. It’s funny, I was walking towards him, he didn’t really want to walk towards me but as soon as someone held him back then he was all of a sudden he was really impatient, like trying to get towards me. Just being Todd Frazier. What’s new?”

Asked if he is surprised such exchanges are still happening three years after they played together, Eaton said he was.

“Yes, absolutely,” Eaton said. “He’s very childish. I’m walking with my head down, play’s over, I’m walking away. I can still hear him. I’m a 30-year-old man with two kids, got a mortgage and everything. He wants to loud talk as he’s running off the field. At the end of the day, I got to be a man about it. I tried to stay patient with the childishness, but it is what it is. I got to stand up eventually.”

He did, and what could have been merely Game 47 for a struggling team turned out to be something else.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS