Washington Nationals: Nothing goes right in demoralizing loss to Phillies

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22 : Starting pitcher Tanner Roark #57 talks with catcher Pedro Severino #29 of the Washington Nationals in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on June 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22 : Starting pitcher Tanner Roark #57 talks with catcher Pedro Severino #29 of the Washington Nationals in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on June 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals can’t wait to put Friday night’s game firmly in the rear-view mirror. A 12-2 loss didn’t yield many positives for the Nationals.

It was not a fun night to be a Washington Nationals fan on Friday night. The team folded in a 12-2 defeat at the hand of the Philadelphia Phillies, and was probably their worst performance of the season to date.

These things happen in baseball, but it just seemed that everything they tried went wrong. Nats pitchers combined to give up 15 hits, 8 walks and obviously the 12 runs.

Bizarrely, every member of the starting lineup got a base hit except Pedro Severino. But despite this, it never felt like the Nats were threatening. They only managed to get runners into scoring position six times despite all the hits and walks.

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The long ball continues to bite the Nationals this month. They’ve given up 31 in June, second to the Colorado Rockies, and, well, Coors. Whereas in May, when they were the best team in baseball, they gave up 19 which was the lowest in MLB.

On the flip-side, they’ve hit a joint MLB lowest 10 homers in June. With the power in this team, expect that to change in a hurry as the weather warms up and Nats park plays smaller by the day.

Roark labors through 4.1

Nats starter Tanner Roark continues to struggle of late, as he gave up six runs in just 4.1 innings on Friday. It could’ve been a lot worse had Tim Collins not put out a bases-loaded fire, only allowing the one additional run.

He allowed seven hits, allowed four walks and a home run to Odubel Herrera that was a big blow. His ERA shot all the way up to 4.27, and his struggles of late continue.

Roark has a 7.40 ERA in June alone, and it’s fair to wonder whether his rotation spot will be secure when injured starters return. If Erick Fedde or Jefry Rodriguez can make a compelling case, then Roark could move back to the bullpen.

He gets the Phillies again in his next start and needs to turn things around.

Harper has another positive game

In a game that had barely any positives, Bryce Harper once again had a nice game in the leadoff spot. He hit a double the opposite way and drew a walk, meaning he’s been on base five times in eight plate appearances since the switch.

Even in his strikeout on Friday, he fouled off a couple of tough pitches and worked the count. All positive signs that he’ll need to sustain for an extended period of time to get back to where he wants to be.

Expect to see him hitting leadoff for the foreseeable future, as it seems to have given him a temporary jolt. Now he just needs some consistent hitting behind him, and the offense will look dangerous once again.

Next: Soto better than Harper as a rookie?

Things don’t get any easier for the Washington Nationals on Saturday, as Cy Young candidate Aaron Nola takes the mound. Erick Fedde has a tough task opposing him, but this could be closer than people think.

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