RING IT: Phillies beat Nationals 5-4 to close the gap in race for NL East
The Phillies took care of business last night in Washington DC, beating the Nationals 5-4 and taking their third game in a row. With a Phillies win and a Mets loss, Philadelphia now sits just 1.5 games back of first place in the NL East.
Last night’s game got off to a hot start, with Jean Segura leading off for the Phillies. Segura, the team’s most consistent player this year, is hitting .279 over his last 15 games, with 3 home runs, 12 RBIs, and an OPS of .874. He stepped up to the plate to lead off the game, and wasted absolutely no time to get Zack Wheeler run support.
Zack Wheeler got that one run on his side, and absolutely dominated early, per usual. Wheeler finished his night with 7.1 innings pitched, giving up 8 hits, 4 earned runs, and striking out five batters. Zack Wheeler has been the best player on the Phillies this season, and with deGrom headed to the injured list, a potential Cy Young Award Winning Zack Wheeler trophy could be in the near future.
The team would tack on three more runs in the top half of the 7th, making it a 4-0 ballgame. JT Realmuto would hit a solo shot to right center, Alec Bohm would walk, and Ronald “RoTo” Torreyes would then step up to the plate and give this team some much needed insurance. Where would this team be without Torreyes?
The Nationals would not go down without a fight though, getting two runs in the bottom of the seventh off of a groundout, and a single to centerfield. Wheeler would finish the 7th, but would be pulled with one out in the bottom half of the 8th.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Bryce Harper, the DC villain, has had some funny encounters with the Nationals since leaving the team. The dugout incident, the many home runs in DC, and now, the blown kiss. The Nationals/Harper relationship will never not be funny. I truly believe that they would rather lose and watch Harper strike out four times, then watch their own team win.
Weird, I know. If #Natitude wasn’t weird enough, Nationals fans find a way to make everything worse. Harper stepped up to the plate in the top of the 8th inning, and completely demolished a baseball. And man, was it awesome.
But this game wasn’t quite over, because of course, the Phillies just have to make every game interesting. Josh Bell would hit a two run home run off of Zack Wheeler in the 8th, to make it a 5-4 game and end Wheeler’s night. Neris would come into the game in the 8th and finish out the inning, leaving it a one run game in the Phillies favor.
Jose Alvarado would enter in the 9th, and every time I watch Alvarado pitch in the 9th, I get more and more nervous. His command has been an issue all year, but that wasn’t an issue tonight, as he would get out of the 9th in three batters and secure the win for the team.
The Phillies are officially 1.5 games back for the first time since May 26th, and with how the Mets are playing right now, that gap could close even more real soon. The biggest series of the year will be taking place this weekend, as New York comes to Citizens Bank Park for a three game series. But hey, let’s focus on winning two more games and sweeping the Nats first. Phillies win 5-4 and now sit at 54-53, one game above .500.
Do NOT let the Phillies get hot. Let’s keep rolling and win a series tonight.
Mandatory Credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images