The bunts were the difference in this game, and the home runs sealed the win in another improbable come-from-behind win in Philadelphia. Both Matt Adams and Michael A. Taylor exited this game with injuries, and Brian Dozier survived a hit-by-pitch to his head in this wild game. The Nationals 4-run 8th inning turned the tables on the Phillies to win this 10-8. Patrick Corbin battled all night with a high pitch count and lasted 6.0 innings of 3-run baseball while throwing 118 pitches which was a career high for him. Joe Ross had an absolute meltdown in the 7th inning giving up 5-runs but the Nats never quit. Kyle Barraclough threw a 1-2-3 8th inning mowing down the heart of the Phillies order getting Jean Segura on a flyout then striking out Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. The 9th inning got shaky, but Sean Doolittle bent but did not break earning his 5th save. It was bunts and boomers as Kurt Suzuki hit the game tying 3-run home run on a pinch-hit and Victor Robles hit the game winner in an oppo boppo shot above Harper’s head in rightfield.
The Nats had three errors, the Phillies had two and while it was messy the Phillies bullpen gave up 7-runs and that ultimately was the difference. Both teams made mistaken pitches, but we saw Patrick Corbin throw Harper 4 straight fastballs in the same location and Harper nailed the 4th fastball for a double. It was another odd selection of pitch calling plus Joe Ross throwing Hoskins low in the zone for a double as if Ross and Gomes were not paying attention to last night’s game. Luckily the Phillies pitchers paid less attention to the details and served up fat pitches all night including three home runs.
Every Nats spot 1-8 in the lineup had a hit in the game. The second time through the order the Nats had 4 batters who were batting behind below .200, but Brian Dozier and Carter Kieboom had big offensive nights with two-hits apiece. Dozier had a booming home run, and Kieboom had the two hits plus a walk to raise his OPS above .600 in the game.
It was a total team win that even featured Max Scherzer in a pinch-hitting spot due to the empty bench where Adrian Sanchez finished the game in leftifeld, Wilmer Difo at 3rd base, Victor Robles to centerfield, and Howie Kendrick to 1st base.
While the media and fanbase have been critical of manager Dave Martinez, he made some key decisions and put on some plays. Most worked out except for the decision to stick with Joe Ross as long as he did in an inning that turned into batting practice as the Phillies got him for a walk, single, and four doubles and five runs. The team really picked up Ross including Tony Sipp who relieved him and kept it at a 3-run deficit at that point in the 7th inning.
“They never quit. They really feel like they are in every game,” Martinez said. “You can see their attitude. Tremendous game today. They fought back and able to pull it out.”
This is just another signature win for this team. Expect both Adams and Taylor to land on the IL to join Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Juan Soto. Adams jammed his shoulder on a dive and Taylor rolled his wrist on his glove-hand on a dive. The Triple-A Fresno team fortunately are playing in Las Vegas where flights are aplenty. Jake Noll was in the original line-up and was pulled as a clear indication that he most likely is en route to Philadelphia. If the Nationals need another outfielder, they would need to add a player to the 40-man roster. They could add Spencer Kieboom who is already on the 40-man roster as Adrian Sanchez and Wilmer Difo can be the emergency 4th outfielders as we saw last night when Sanchez filled-in at leftfield. There are some outfield standouts in the minor leagues like Rhett Wiseman who is tearing up Double-A ball, and he happens to be left-handed. Besides Noll and Kieboom, the only remaining position player on the 40-man is Raudy Read. Expect general manager Mike Rizzo to also look at trades for a left-handed first baseman.
Those players currently on the IL include the Nationals top-3 position players and 13.7 WAR between just Rendon, Turner, and Soto based on last year’s value. Recall that all three of those players were ahead of the $330 million man last year in WAR. Additionally, with Zimmerman, Adams, and Taylor you are looking at 17.1 combined 2018 last year. Rendon is eligible to come off of the IL on Tuesday, but he has not even gone on a minor league assignment yet.