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Game 154: Phillies at Nats

Sep 26, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

The Nationals being eliminated from playoff contention has perhaps been a delayed inevitability for quite some time, but that won’t make it any easier when it actually happens. That time may come on Sunday, as the Nats enter their afternoon matchup with the Phillies holding on to an elimination number of just one game in the NL East.

The Nationals will do their best to extend their season with Stephen Strasburg (10-7, 3.81) on the mound. He has been brilliant his last three times out with 37 strikeouts – a Nats record for three straight starts – and only three walks.

Former first round pick Aaron Nola (6-2, 3.84) will pitch for Philly. The right-hander has been super inconsistent lately. Three times in his last five starts he’s gone at least seven innings with one run or less allowed. But in the other two starts during that stretch he gave up six earned runs apiece.

Updates to come…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 186/860
Weather: Cloudy, 67 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to CF

2B Anthony Rendon
3B Yunel Escobar
CF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
LF Matt den Dekker
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Stephen Strasburg

PHILLIES (58-96)
SS Freddy Galvis
CF Aaron Altherr
3B Cody Asche
1B Darin Ruf
2B Andres Blanco
RF Brian Bogusevic
C Cameron Rupp
LF Darnell Sweetney
RHP Aaron Nola

HP James Hoye
1B Bill Welke
2B John Hirschbeck (cc)
3B John Tumpane

4:07 p.m. — Galvis lines out to left field and we are underway on a windy afternoon at Nationals Park.

4:19 p.m. — No score after one as both Strasburg and Nola were sharp and allowed no baserunners. On to the second.

4:34 p.m. — It’s still 0-0 after two as both teams are searching for their first baserunners. Strasburg has thrown 28 pitches, Nola is at 25.

4:53 p.m. — No score after three innings. The Nats got the first baserunner on with a den Dekker single, but they couldn’t make anything of it. The Phillies are still looking to get out of the batter’s box against Strasburg, who is at 40 pitches through three.

5:09 p.m. — The game remains locked at 0-0 after four, though the Nationals had an excellent chance in the bottom half of the inning. Harper, Werth and Robinson all singled with no outs to load the bases. But Desmond then struck out looking, den Dekker lined out to second base and Ramos grounded out to third base. On to the fourth.

5:24 p.m. — No runs to report on in the fifth inning, but we did see some more action in the way of hits. Ruf singled to left field to break up Strasburg’s perfect game bid. Strasburg then singled in the fifth, but the Nats couldn’t do anything with it. On to the sixth.

5:51 p.m. — Strasburg continued to cruise through the sixth inning before the Nats’ offense finally broke through to score a run. It came after Nola was removed for a pinch-hitter and lefty Adam Loewen took over. Loewen failed to record an out, instead walking both Harper and Werth. He also threw two wild pitches to move Harper to third. Desmond then scored Harper on a groundout to third base off Loewen’s replacement, Jeanmar Gomez.

6:02 p.m. — Nothing going for either team in the seventh inning. Strasburg struck out two Phillies to push his total to 11 on the day. The Nats then went down 1-2-3 against Gomez. On to the eighth in a 1-0 game.

6:29 p.m. — And we are now tied. Strasburg quickly allowed a single to Ruf and two batters later gave up an RBI double to Bogusevic. It’s 1-1 as Jonathan Papelbon will take over to pitch the ninth.

6:46 p.m. — Nothing going for either team in the ninth, so we will go to extra innings. So awesome!

7:19 p.m. — It’s still 1-1 with the bottom of the 11th up next. The Mets beat the Reds to clinch the NL East, by the way. The Nats have officially been eliminated from the playoffs.

7:40 p.m. — Nats lose, here is the instant analysis:

  1. Scooter - Sep 26, 2015 at 12:44 PM


    • natsfan1a - Sep 26, 2015 at 12:52 PM

      Put me down for the same.

  2. Candide - Sep 26, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    Got new-posted:


    Okay, Cunegonde and I are done for the year. We went to 15 games together, and I went to two more without her.

    We were 8-7 together for the season. The Nats lost both games I attended without her, so I was 8-9 for the season.

    Things went south for me in August. They lost six of the seven I attended beginning August 26, the only win during that stretch being the 13-3 September 20 blowout of the Marlins.

    So Cunegonde and I pretty much matched the Pythagorean win expectation.

    Did anyone do much better? If there’s someone out there who had, say a .667 winning percentage over a dozen or more games, maybe we ought to buy that person season tickets for next year.

    • trfwans - Sep 26, 2015 at 12:51 PM

      I’ve been to 39 games this year and they are 23-16 in those games. Before the Labor Day week debacle with the Mets they were 22-10, though. Definitely not ending the season with a bang zoom. Got one game left, on Monday. Would be nice if they win it, but even if they don’t they’ll close out as a winner with me in the ballpark. So I guess I can’t complain…

    • natsfan1a - Sep 26, 2015 at 12:52 PM

      I still have three to go. So far I’m as follows:

      Spring Training: 1 win, 1 tie
      P-Nats games: 2-1
      Wash. Nats games: 6-2

      Looking forward to today’s game, as some friends are hosting a group in a suite. If something really awesome happens, I may throw papers out the window as Bowden once did. Or not.

      • Candide - Sep 26, 2015 at 12:59 PM

        …I may throw papers out the window as Bowden once did. Or not.

        I guess that covers all the possibilities!

      • natsfan1a - Sep 26, 2015 at 1:09 PM

        Pretty much. 😉

        Talk to y’all later.

    • sec112 - Sep 26, 2015 at 1:25 PM

      I was 12-8, including a 9 game winning streak that bizarrely coincided with the August collapse. Basically I was at almost every game they won in August. It got to the point that I felt guilty for not going. My streak ended at the first game against the Mets, unfortunately followed by the second game . . .

  3. Candide - Sep 26, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    And in a mystery that surpasseth all understanding, Desmond starts again today.

    • Candide - Sep 26, 2015 at 1:00 PM

      (Oh, great, I reported my own comment! Mark, I’m an idiot – please ignore)

      I’m starting to wonder if Ian has pictures of MW in bed with a goat or something…

  4. Doc - Sep 26, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    Rich Hill is now an All Star in Boston. He did well at Syracuse, but the Nats obviously didn’t care!

  5. NatsNut - Sep 26, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    Chase, there is a team today who is 1 game from elimination but it’s not the Phillies. =(

    • NatsNut - Sep 26, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      Oh. Sorry. I read the sentence wrong! (crawling under rock)

      • 3on2out - Sep 26, 2015 at 2:13 PM

        No worries. Chase thinks today is Sunday. Interesting people are calculating their personal W/L records. Did mine yesterday: 7-9. Felt more like 4-12.

      • NatsNut - Sep 27, 2015 at 9:18 AM

        My record isn’t too bad:
        16-11 through August.
        20-16 through yesterday.

  6. Candide - Sep 26, 2015 at 2:04 PM

    The Pope is a Nats fan. Who knew?

  7. rmoore446 - Sep 26, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    I do hope the team wins enough to avoid sinking below .500 for the year. I know its only three more games but anything is possible this year.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 26, 2015 at 5:47 PM

      There’s nine games left, counting this one, so yes, it’s very possible.

  8. ArVAFan - Sep 26, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    39 games so far (have tickets for Sunday & Monday). 20-19. Sorta like the team. But I’ve seen exactly one W in September, so perhaps it’s a good thing that we’re going somewhere else today.

    But I’ve already renewed my season tix for next year, so it’s a good thing it doesn’t look as if I’m the jinx. I have my own opinion on who’s the responsible party there.

  9. Nats Fan Zee - Sep 26, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    New chant for the weekend:

    P-L-A-Y T-R-E-A, Trea, Trea, Trea … Whoooo

    I’ll be there tomorrow with my son … I never kept count of our W’s & L’s in attendance but not many wins starting from the spring and the exhibition game against the Yankees right through the Mets Labor Day blowout.

    Oh well, it’s baseball, I’m with my 12 year old and if the rain holds out …. All is good. Maybe Matt will get sick and Randy will play the youth ……

    • ArVAFan - Sep 26, 2015 at 3:22 PM

      Some of my rowdy friends in 313 yesterday were muttering “N-U-T-S, nuts, nuts, nuts, BOO!” under their breath after the 4 runs scored. Don’t think the Lerners will be painting that on the park!

      • veejh - Sep 26, 2015 at 3:36 PM

        Now that is funny.

        I’ve always hated the Jets/Nats chant. Meh.

      • dcwx61 - Sep 26, 2015 at 5:32 PM

        i’ve been doing M-A-T-T, Matt, matt, matt, BOO
        or in honor of dogs in the park
        C-R-A-P, crap, crap, crap, Pee Yuuuuuu

  10. Danny - Sep 26, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    Get Desmond out of a Nats uniform!

  11. Joe Seamhead - Sep 26, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    Can’t anybody here play this game?

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 26, 2015 at 5:51 PM

    I remember when Johnny Oates managed Baltimore in the early 90s, a famously “under-achieving” club, someone then characterized that team as (IIRC), “the most passive-aggressive group of individuals, nevermind ballplayers” he’d ever seen.

    I don’t think these guys are that bad, but they do remind me of that quote. Just saying.

  13. Joe Seamhead - Sep 26, 2015 at 6:45 PM

    I assume that the end is near for Tyler Moore. Nice kid, but I won’t miss him.

  14. carlospaula - Sep 26, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    With the Nats now eliminated, it’s time to pull Desmond and let Tre play.

  15. Steady Eddie - Sep 26, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Uh, Chase, your 7:40 posting is a little confused. It may feel like the Nats lost, overall, but they actually won this particular game. Eh, won, lost, what’s the difference at this point?

    Also, the game didn’t end at 7:40. Having sat there for all 3:50 noted in the box score, I can attest that it didn’t end till 7:55.

    On the season record, the Nats were 28-18 in games I attended, if you count the end of the “lights out” game against the Dodgers the next day that den Dekker’s two run homer won. That was mostly on the strength of an amazingly lucky 18-4 stretch between the Joe Ross win at the beginning of the Pirates series and the win against the Braves just before the Labor Day disaster started the end slide (in which they went 2-6 including today).

    And like most of you, after this season I have seen quite enough of Desi in a Nats uni. Good guy but NOT an adaptive ball player.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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