Sep 26, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT
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…
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
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
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: http://natsinsider.com/2015/09/26/nats-2-phillies-1-nats-eliminated-from-playoffs-despite-walk-off-win/
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
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)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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