Hard to believe it was just two days ago the Nats had won four in a row and scored 32 runs in those four games. In two games in Philadelphia against lefties with ERAs above 4.35, the Nats have lost both and scored just five total runs. The complaint about the Nats earlier this season had been their inconsistency, and while it briefly dissipated at the beginning of the month, it appears to still apply quite well. The Nats have baseball’s worst cumulative triple slash against lefthanded pitchers, which some would hide behind, but that excuse doesn’t hold water. If anything, it confirms the Nats’ irregularity: the Nats scored nine runs in four innings off Padres lefty Robbie Erlin, but failed to score in eight innings against John Lannan. They got a little more off Cole Hamels tonight than they did off Lannan, but ended up scoring fewer runs, 3-2, and losing both games.The Braves’ terrible inconsistency in going 40-37 since starting 12-1 has allowed the Nats to climb back into the division race, but the Nats are just as mediocre. What was a four-game division deficit two days ago has regrown to six, and the Nationals are shooting themselves in the foot. At least Scott Hairstonwas 2-5 in his debut.
Jul 9, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) throws to first to complete the double play after forcing Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Ben Revere (2) at first base during the second inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Most Important Nationals Hit: Jayson Werth‘s solo home run (+11.4%)
The only offense the Nats got before the ninth inning came with one swing of Werth’s bat. With one out in the top of the second, Werth took his former teammate Hamels deep to incur a hefty round of boos from the Philadelphia crowd. Werth’s bomb extended @NationalsPR’s favorite stat: the Nationals have now homered in 86 consecutive series, the longest streak in baseball. Werth may well have saved that streak, given how the Nats have hit this series.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Chase Utley‘s reach on error (-16.2%)
The youngster Taylor Jordan had been cruising until the sixth inning, when things fell apart for him and the defense. Two singles from the top of the Phillies’ order opened the frame before Utley grounded to first. Adam LaRoche fielded the ball and threw to second, but his throw hit Jimmy Rollins and bounded into the outfield. Instead of having runners on the corners with one out, they had runners on the corners with no outs and a 2-1 lead. A double one out later scored both runners to put Philly up 4-1.
Champ of the Game: Bryce Harper (+3.3%) was 0-3, but walked with one out in the eighth to load the bases. The Nats would not score, however. Hamels (+22.4%) threw eight innings of one run ball, allowing six hits and walking one.
Chump of the Game: Jordan (-24.3%) pitched decently again, allowing four runs (three earned) over 5.2 IP on eight hits and a walk. Unfortunately, he did not have much offensive support and is now 0-2. For the Phillies, Carlos Ruiz (-15.2%) was 0-3 and grounded into a double play when the Phillies had two runners on and no outs.