The Washington Nationals comeback effort came short as they fell 4-3 to the Philidelphia Phillies as the teams opened up a three-game series.
Despite it being just the second full week of the 2019 regular season. This mid-April three-game series between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies feels to have some added meaning behind it.
The teams split their first matchup this year in a short two-game set back at Nationals Park, setting up an intense series at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies sent right-hander Vince Velasquez to the mound to make his first start of the 2019 season. Washington countered with veteran Anibal Sanchez, facing the Phillies for the second time in one week.
Washington was on the attack early against Velasquez. In the top of the second after a Juan Soto leadoff double, backup catcher Kurt Suzuki getting the start launched a deep two-run homer to left, giving the Nationals an early 1-0 lead.
Things remained locked at 2-0 and Sanchez seemed on cruise control for the Nats till the bottom of the fourth. Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera stepped to the plate with one man on and absolutely demolished a two-run shot to right, tying the game at 2-2.
Once again both starters continued to pitch well, but in the bottom of the sixth inning, Sanchez was bitten by the home run bug yet again. Phillie’s first basemen Rhys Hoskins joined the party with a solo shot to left, making it a 3-2 game.
Hoskins was not done yet, as in the bottom of the eighth facing reliever Justin Miller he went deep to left once again, increasing the Phillies lead to 4-2.
After having a very solid start to his season, Miller has not looked good in his past two outings. He has now given up three home runs in his last two appearances, and in both games, the runs given up have cost the Nationals greatly.
The inning started with a bang as Brian Dozier launched his first Nationals home run to left-center, making it a one-run-game at 4-3. Anthony Rendon then followed with a double of his own, leaving the tying run on second with nobody out.
Situational hitting has been a problem for Washington to start the season, and it came back to bit them once again here. The next three batters, Soto, Zimmerman, and Suzuki were all unable to drive Rendon home from second, stranding him there and giving the Phillies the 4-3 victory.