Nats Sweep Phils Behind Mad Max and Corbin

With two games being rained out on Monday and Tuesday the Nationals played a day/night split double header against the Phillies on Wednesday. They got two strong pitching performances, the first from Patrick Corbin and the second from Max Scherzer to sweep the Phillies 6-2 and 2-0, despite the prediction of rain through Thursday. There was a brief drizzle in game two, but it did not interrupt the game.

In the early game the Nationals called on Patrick Corbin to give the Nationals a critical win. He gave up a solo shot to Scott Kingery, a two out solo bomb deep into the back of the left field bullpen. That was the only time in the day the Phillies had a lead. Corbin shut down the Phils through the next six innings, at one time striking out 7 of the eight hitters he faced in the second through fourth innings, striking out the side in the fourth. For the game he struck out eight.

The Nationals responded in the bottom of the first off Zach Eflin. Adam Eaton hit a ball off the right centerfield scoreboard for a double. Kingery had a ball clank off his glove for an error putting runners on first and third with just one out. Juan Soto tied the game up with a single into right field.

The Nationals took the lead in the fourth after a one out double by Matt Adams into the right field corner. Bryce Harper had the ball hit off his glove when reaching for it, had trouble picking it up as it landed against the scoreboard, allowing Adams to race to second. With two outs Gerrado Parra, getting a rare start in centerfield lined a single into right center to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Parra turned the hit into a double hustling into second. He was ultimately stranded there when Yan Gomes was intentionally walked and Corbin grounded a pitch to third where Kingery dove to make the stop and flipped the ball to second to end the inning.

The Phillies had an opportunity in the sixth. Bryce Harper led off the inning with a walk. Scott Kingery grounded a single into centerfield. Harper hesitated about going to third after rounding second, but then turned on the afterburners. Parra picked up the ball barehanded and just barely threw Harper out, with a video of the play confirming the call. Rhys Hoskins grounded a single past the diving Trea Turner to put two runners on. J.T. Realmuto grounded to third, Rendon looked just a bit casual trying to turn two and only retired the lead runner at second. No harm as Corbin got Sean Rodriguez to ground to third for the final out, swinging at a 3-0 pitch with runners on first and third.

The Nationals came back to add another run in the bottom of the sixth. Juan Soto led off the inning with a walk, stole second and was able to score on a Brian Dozier double down the left field line. Another intentional walk to Yon Gomes brought up Corbin to hit and he struck out on three pitches.

Corbin retired the side in order in the seventh. The Nationals went with young rookie Tanner Rainey for the eighth inning in a 3-1 game. He struggled a bit with his command, walking one and hitting one. With two outs he ran the count full to J.T. Realmuto. Under most circumstances the bullpen would have caved. Rainey stayed his course, getting Realmuto on a ground out to short to send it to the ninth.

The Nationals had Sean Doolittle warming. Brian Dozier hit a two run homer in the flower bed in left field. Gerrado Parra made it back to back sending a ball off the scoreboard behind the right field bullpen. Doolittle was no longer needed.

With the score 6-1 Javy Guerra came out of the bullpen. He retired the first two hitters, but Cesar Hernandez singled and pinch hitter Brad Miller skipped a pitch down the right field line. He ended up at third after the ball went past Parra after bouncing around the corner in right field, scoring Hernandez. The fans got a little restless, but Corbin retired Jean Segura on a ground out to short to end the game.

The night cap was all Mad Max. He was going against Jake Arriata. Despite his broken nose and black eye he threw seven shutout innings, striking out 10. The only time he allowed a runner to reach third base was in the first inning. In the seventh he gave up a leadoff double to Cesar Hernandez but despite being visibly tired he struck out the side to end the inning.

Jake Arriata was equally as sharp. He gave up a second inning solo shot into left field in the second inning to Brian Dozier to give the Nationals an early 1-0 lead. He only gave up one other hit in the fourth. He ended up going six innings after the Phillies pinch hit for him in the top of the seventh, giving up just the one run.

In the top of the eighth Wander Suerro retired the side in order, striking out two. He did take the count to 3-2 to the two hitters he whiffed. In the bottom frame the Nationals got an insurance run when Victor Robles popped a pitch into the left field bullpen for a 2-0 lead. Doolittle did not need the extra run, retiring the side in order in the ninth to complete the sweep.

Game Notes: As the weather has gotten warmer Brian Dozier has gotten hot. He is 28 for 97 (.289) with 7 of his 12 homeruns and 21 of his 28 RBIs since mid-May…Lots of boos for Bryce. If he ever enters the Hall of Fame he will not be wearing a Nationals hat. He appears to have worn out that welcome…Anthony Rendon is too casual on defense when he makes the play. He also does not run hard when he doesn’t think he can take the extra base. Depending on his asking price myworld would not pay above market price to extend him…The more I watch Juan Soto the more I am convinced that DH is his best position. He does hustle for balls hit to him but he falls short of too many balls, or misplays them…For the first Brian Dozier homerun in game one, a Phillie fan retrieved it from the flower bed and threw it into left field. Leftfielder Sean Rodriguez picked the ball up and threw it back into left field. So much for that statement…The Phillies played the shift with Adam Eaton on third and Matt Adams up. The third baseman was almost playing shortstop. This allowed Eaton to take a leadoff halfway down the third base line. I was hoping he would steal home…The first game saw more empty seats than occupied seats. You could almost count the attendance. The announced crowd was 17,960, but take away the “1″ and it would be closer to the number of people in the park….Patrick Corbin had an ERA of 11.37 in his last three starts…Scherzer’s fastball had a little more velocity than his previous outings. Myworld saw him hit 98 twice and he was consistently at 97. In the seventh inning he began to tire and you saw the fastball drop to 94/95. But he still struck out the side, putting out all his effort to get that 97 mph reading…Pat Neshek came back to the Phils on Sunday from the disabled list. He was on the IL for a strained shoulder. After facing three hitters in the second game he strained his left hamstring and may have to return to the IL.

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