It doesn’t have to be pretty every game, as long as you find a way to win. That was how the Phillies handled their game yesterday, the rubber game in a series against the NL East favorite Nationals.
Jeremy Hellickson took the mound in South Philadelphia and delivered his second solid start in as many attempts. 5 innings in both games that he has started, but this time, he left to begin the 6th inning with what is being called as a “right forearm cramp”.
On the other end, Stephen Strasburg took the hill against the Phillies, a team he has dominated in his time in the league. Strasburg was hit around a little, giving up 5 hits to go with 3 runs in 7 innings of work.
Going to the 9th, the Phillies led 3-0, and called upon their steady closer from last seasons, Jeanmar Gomez, to come do his job. After getting the first out, Gomez gave up a single, a walk to Jayson Werth, and then Phillie-killer Ryan Zimmerman teed off and hit a three run home run to tie it.
Pete Mackanin discussed how him and Gomez would need to discuss to see what his role is going forward. “Like I said, I’m going to talk to Jeanmar tomorrow. I didn’t talk to him today. I’ll have something for you tomorrow. We’ll discuss it. It’s not something you want to think about. We just have to be practical and do what is best for the team and we’ll know tomorrow,” the manager said postgame.
Luckily, the Nationals bullpen continued to struggle with Koda Glover walking the leadoff hitter in the 9th Daniel Nava on four pitches, then giving up a single to Freddy Galvis. With two outs, Cesar Hernandez delivered an opposite field bloop single that landed in front of Jayson Werth, to give the Phillies their first series win of the year.
Hernandez, after his walk-off, discussed the mentality of the team after Zimmerman hit that big home run. “Everybody is family, so everybody said, ‘Let’s go and fight. We were doing that almost the whole game, so why not do it now?,” before he got the signature walk-off gatorade bath.
It’s a small sample size, but the Phillies have looked competitive in their first two series, and their starting pitchers and bullpen have bent but not broken. The competition continues in the 215 as the New York Mets come into town, and bring Jacob Degrom and Matt Harvey with them.