Manager Matt Williams said it best: “It’s one of those nights where things just didn’t go right.”
The Philadelphia Phillies (48-61) beat up on Gio Gonzalez, tacking five runs on him in under four innings, while the Washington Nationals (58-48) could not score enough to keep up with their own sieve-like bullpen, even after Cliff Lee left with an injury, eventually losing 10-4.
Gonzalez did not look comfortable in his abbreviated outing. He would continually attempt to loosen his shoulder after pitches, never seeming to settle in. It showed in the results, as the Phillies lit him up. In 3.2 innings, Gonzalez allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out just two. He had been faring well as of late, having ceded just seven runs in his past six starts, but looked to be having trouble with his shoulder once again tonight.
While Gonzalez labored, Lee mowed the Nats down. He retired the first seven batters he faced before Danny Espinosa doubled, but just two batters later, he left the game with an injury. He was pitching well to that point: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. News would later break that Lee had re-injured his left elbow flexor, an injury that cost him two months in its first iteration. Though there has been no official word, many have speculated that Lee, tragically, may be done for the season.
The Phillies scored all of their runs off of Gonzalez in the top of the fourth, in which he faced nine batters and seven reached base. His cause was not helped by some poor defense in the frame. Espinosa threw home on a bunt and failed to get the runner instead of taking the out at third, while Ian Desmond flubbed a double play ball and forced the Nats to take just one out. In fact, the Nats struggled with the leather all night. In addition to the two miscues mentioned above, Anthony Rendon uncharacteristically committed a pair of errors as he missed on two throws to first base.
Though they fell into an early hole, the Nats did not quit without a fight. A Wilson Ramos single got the Nats on the board in the fourth, and Denard Span drove in two with a single in the fifth. But things deflated from there. The Phillies scored five more runs off the Nats’ bullpen, two off of Jerry Blevins and three off of Craig Stammen, while the Nats could only manage one more. Over these past four games, the Nats’ bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster, ceding 21 hits and 14 runs in just 11.1 innings. Fortunately, these things do not last forever, and the Nats are likely near the end of this ignominious streak. The same goes for the eight straight homer-less games, a season high for the team.
Ugly as tonight was