Another night, another lopsided loss for the all of a sudden slumping Phillies.
Since Vince Velasquez's 16-strikeout masterpiece, the Phillies pitching staff has been anything but stellar. Actually, just good would be an upgrade. Aaron Nola surrendered a career high seven runs in the Nationals 8-1 win over the Phillies Saturday night at Citizens Banks Park. Cameron Rupp provided the Phillies only run with a solo home run in the fifth inning of Max Scherzer.
Per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com the Phillies tied a franchise record by failing to get 10 hits in a game in first 12 games. Also opened 1967 with 12-game double-digit hitless streak.
Phillies starting pitcher ERA escalated from 2.14 to 3.42 since beginning of Friday night.
Bryce Harper hit his fifth home run of the season. Harper now has six homers and 10 RBI in his last six games at Citizens Bank Park.
Nola threw 19 pitches in the first inning and the Nationals teed off scoring three runs including a Daniel Murphy RBI triple. Harper hit a sacrifice fly that Darin Ruf dropped on the transfer allowing Michael Taylor to tag and score from third base.
Scherzer, at one point, retired 11 straight Phillies hitters en route to his second win of the season. Scherzer struck out seven while walking only one in seven innings of work. Scherzer helped his own cause with a 2-run double in the fourth inning off Nola.
Freddy Galvis and Cameron Rupp each had a pair hits
Nola finished the evening with an ugly stat line: 5 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR. Harper's fifth inning home run gave him three RBI's on the night. The Phillies bullpen cleaned up Nola's mess diligently throwing four innings of one run, one hit baseball. Dalier Hinojosa, and Hector Neris pitched shutout baseball for three consecutive innings.
Chris Heisey took James Russell deep in the top of the ninth for a pinch-hit home run, his first of the season. Other than Heisey's homer the Phillies bullpen looked rather flawless.
Cedric Hunter continues to be as close to an automatic out as one can be going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, keeping his average to mere .091. The Phillies one through five hitters went a combined 1-for-18 and seven strikeouts. Ruf has the lowest batting average on the Phillies at .083, and had a costly error in the very first inning of the game.
Despite Ryan Howard's power numbers being up, his average is rapidly declining. With his 0-for-4 evening he's now batting .194 on the season. Still, his .790 OPS is good for third on the team.
The Phillies fall to 5-7 which is still good for second place in the National League East.
Charlie Morton will look to salvage the series for the Phillies as they'll try to avoid the sweep against Gio Gonzalez Sunday afternoon.