Stephen Strasburg’s Struggles Lead to Washington Nationals 8-1 Loss To Phillies

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The Washington Nationals have to figure out what is wrong with Stephen Strasburg this year.  After an encouraging last start against the Padres when he gave up only five runs over three innings, Strasburg (3-5) gave up six early runs to the worst offense in the majors en route to his fifth loss of the year.  The Nationals defense was far from pristine today, as the team had a season high tying four errors. With the loss, the Nats had their six game win streak and seven game home win streak snapped.

While Strasburg was struggling for the Nationals, Cole Hamels was absolutely dealing for the Phillies.  Facing an offense in the Nationals that has been red hot recently, Hamels was dominant as he threw eight innings of one run ball to earn his fifth win of the year.

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Strasburg actually looked good early in the game as he fired two scoreless innings to begin the game.  However, Hamels matched him with two scoreless innings of his own. Strasburg finally tripped up in the third.  After Ben Revere walked with one out against Strasburg, Cesar Hernandez doubled to left to put runners on second and third with one out and Chase Utley coming to the plate.  Utley would ground out to score Revere before the red hot Ryan Howard doubled down the right field line to score Hernandez.  Maikel Franco then doubled the Phillies lead to 4-0 with a two run blast to right center field.

In the top of the fourth inning, a pair of Nationals errors led to two more Phillies runs.  Revere singled to left to score the Nationals fifth run before Ian Desmond missed a Hernandez ground ball, allowing it to dribble out to left field. Despite a strong throw from Michael Taylor, Wilson Ramos was unable to hold onto the ball, allowing Revere to score for a 6-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth inning, Ryan Howard would increase the lead to 7-0 with a towering blast to center field off of A.J Cole for his 10th homer of the year. The Phillies would add an additional run in the top of the sixth.  The eight runs were a season high for the Phillies, and ended a 44 game streak during which the Phillies had scored six runs or less in every game.

The Nationals would score their lone run in the bottom of the eighth, when Ian Desmond doubled to score Taylor with two outs.  Casey Jannsen, the former Blue Jays closer who signed with the Nationals in February as a free agent, made his Nats debut in the top of the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning.

Next Game: The Nationals (25-18) will conclude their series against the Phillies (19-26) at 1:35 PM ET tomorrow at Nationals Park.  Gio Gonzalez (4-3, 4.94) will take on Aaron Harang (4-3, 1.82) in the rubber match of this series. You can catch the game on MASN.

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