Nationals v Phillies (April 7th-9th)

Friday, April 7, 2017: 7-6 W (Phillies)

The Nationals had some early pop in the bats as Harper and Murphy both went deep and both times Eaton was on base. Werth continued to hammer his former team as he joined in the long ball parade. This time Murphy was on base to give the Nationals a commanding 7-0 lead in the 5th. Max Scherzer picked up where he left off last year throwing 6 2/3rds, giving up two runs (both earned), and amassed seven strikeouts. Scherzer led the MLB in strikeouts last season with 284 and was the National League’s only 20 game winner. The Phillies would not roll over, as they came back and forced four runs after #31 came out from his first start of the season. Blake Treinen came in for the ninth and despite giving up two runs he was able to get the save.

Saturday, April 8, 2017: 17-3 L (Phillies)

Trea Turner led the game off with an infield single. Later in the inning, Turner came out with what appeared to be a leg injury. Guthrie made his first start for the Nationals, and it was one he hopes to forget. The veteran failed to make it through the first inning surrendering 8 runs on the mound, and was charged with 2 runs due to the baserunners Guthrie left on when manager Dusty Baker yanked him.  The Nationals would eventually get out of the inning giving up 12 runs (two by Enny Romero) in the bottom of the first. Romero would give up another run in the 2nd before Blanton entered in the 3rd. Jayson Werth drove in Murphy in the top of the 4th to break the Phillies shut out. The Nationals ended up losing 17-3 when it was all said and done. The biggest news despite the score was the information about Trea Turner’s exit from the game in the first, a hamstring injury. The word is he will be out for the next two to three games. Turner looks to be an instrumental part to the function of the Nationals offense this season. Adam Eaton looks to be the lead off man while Turner rests his leg.

Sunday, April 9, 2017: 4-3 L (Phillies)

Earlier today reports came out that Turner came out due to a tight hamstring, and he will miss a couple of games. After an embarrassing loss the night before the Nationals came out ready to take the series behind ace Stephen Strasburg. Stras pitched decently well in his second start of the year, lasting seven innings while striking out eight. The Phillies scored one run in the second by a ground ball to the outfield by Freddy Galvis. The fight’ in Phills scored two more in the 5th inning on a single by Cesar Hernández and double by Howie Kendrick. It looked like the Nats would be shutout for the first time of the year, until the 9th inning. Adam Lind came up and singled for his second hit of the game. Jayson Werth walked, which led Ryan Zimmerman to pinch hit for the catcher Lobatón (who went 0-3 in his first start of the year). Zimmerman took Jeanmar Gómez deep to tie the game. “Mr. National” now has three home runs and six runs batted in through the first six games of the year. Koda Glover came in to try to send the game to extras. He was not able to, looking shaky and getting into multiple three ball counts. Hernández picked up his second hit and rbi of the day putting the nail in the coffin for the Nationals hopes of a comeback win.

Recap: The Nationals lost the series to the Phillies during Philadelphia’s first home stand of the year. As seen from last series, the Nationals have a productive offense and what looks to be a dependable rotation. It should be noted the club designated Jeremy Guthrie for assignment following his start on Saturday night and selected Matt Albers from Triple-A Syracuse. Joe Ross will be up with the team soon which sets the rotation up to look like: Strasburg, Roark, Gonzalez, Scherzer, and Ross. I was asked why “Mad” Max (Scherzer) is slotted in at the 4th spot in the rotation, and I have yet to find a good answer. The Nationals will come home to Washington to take on the Cardinals and Phillies before heading out on the road.

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(featured image was posted by the Nationals Instagram account, @nationals)

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