Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Phillies 2 - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Phillies 2



    Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Phillies 2
    Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Phillies 2


    The Phillies' losing streak is now at five games following another loss to the NL East-leading Washington Nationals, this one a 6-2 defeat on a brisk Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park. 
    It was the Phillies' eighth loss in their last nine games.
    Phillies starter Vince Velasquez was having a solid outing, keeping his mates in the game and trailing just 2-1 heading into the sixth inning. That's when things unraveled for Velasquez and the Phils.
    After back-to-back one-out singles by Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy, Michael Saunders misplayed a sharp liner off the bat of red-hot Ryan Zimmerman, allowing the ball to go over his head and to the wall. A run scored to make it a 3-1 Washington lead. Anthony Rendon came to the plate next and promptly tattooed a Velasquez offering over the wall in left for a three-run shot that extended the Nationals' lead to 6-1.
    It was all she wrote from there, as the Phillies' bats couldn't string anything together against Washington starter A.J. Cole. The fact the Phillies made three outs on the basepaths – Maikel Franco's batter's interference on a steal attempt in the first, Tommy Joseph's failed attempt to stretch a single into a double in the second and Saunders' caught stealing on an ill-timed hit and run in the fourth – certainly didn't help the cause.
    The Phils fell to 12-17 on the year. They've now lost 17 of the 21 against the Nationals. They've also now lost 17 of the last 21 to the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Washington improved to an NL-best 21-9.
    Starting pitching report
    Velasquez was again undone by an inning gone awry. This time it was the fateful sixth inning. He tossed seven innings and gave up seven hits and six runs, all earned. He also struck out eight batters. He's now 2-3 on the year and his ERA now sits at 5.94.
    Cole was strong in first outing of the year for Washington. He threw six innings of one-run ball and struck out two. He earned the victory.
    Bullpen report
    Mark Leiter, Jr. allowed two hits and issued a walk over the eighth and ninth innings, but did not allow a run.
    Pete Mackanin spoke at length before the game about his team's bullpen issues and how he expected the Phillies to carry eight relievers for a while until the bullpen settles down (see story).
    At the plate
    Not an awful lot to write about for the Phillies.
    Cameron Rupp was the lone bright spot as he drove in both runs – one with an RBI single in the second and one with an opposite-field homer in the seventh. It was his third home run of the season.
    At the other end of the spectrum is Zimmerman, who is absolutely en fuego for Washington. His rocket of a home run in the fourth was his NL-leading 13th of the season. He drove in two runs Saturday and now has a 13-game hitting streak. He's also now hitting a robust .435 on the year.
    In the field
    Odubel Herrera made an excellent leaping grab against the wall on a Zimmerman drive in the top of the second. Herrera got a good jump and took away what was surely going to be an extra-base hit for Zimmerman.
    But that Saunders misplay in left in the sixth was not pretty. And it was costly.
    Health check
    Aaron Altherr did not start Saturday night thanks to a sore wrist, the result of a diving catch he made during Friday's loss. Brock Stassi started in left and batted second in Altherr's place.
    Pete Mackanin said he doesn't believe the wrist soreness is anything serious and that Altherr just needed a day.
    Superstar Bryce Harper missed his second consecutive game for Washington with a groin issue.
    Up next
    The Phillies will send Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.18 ERA) to the hill for Sunday afternoon's series finale with the Nats. Washington will counter with Tanner Roark (3-1, 4.04 ERA).
    A reminder that Sunday's game will start at 2:35 p.m. because of the annual Broad Street Run. The Phillies pushed the start back an hour to help lessen the congestion the race brings to the Sports Complex area.