That remained the same following the Phillies’ outcome Sunday in Washington, D.C.
The eye-appealing matchup between Hamels and Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg lived up to its billing until things went south in the seventh inning for the Phillies (24-26), resulting in a 6-1 loss to NL East rival Washington (26-24).
Hamels did all he could, going toe-to-toe with Strasburg through six scoreless frames. Then the seventh inning rolled around, and it turned ugly for the can’t-catch-a-break Hamels.
With the bases loaded and one out away (infield single, single, sac bunt, intentional walk), Washington catcher Jhonatan Solano hit a slow roller to third base that Michael Young fielded and threw near the ankles of catcher Humberto Quintero in an attempt to cut the runner at home plate. The poor throw skipped by Quintero, allowing two Nationals to score.
Washington’s Stephen Lombardozzi followed by lining a two-run double down the right-field line. Delmon Young had trouble picking it up, allowing Lombardozzi to advance to third and eventually score on Denard Span’s double off Justin De Fratus.
The Phillies finished the seventh inning with five runs allowed, four hits and two errors. Hamels, who took the mound in the seventh working a three-hit shutout, ended his day with 6 1/3 innings pitched, five runs given up (three earned), six strikeouts and shockingly his eighth loss of 2013. The Phillies are now 1-10 in games that Hamels has started. The 29-year-old came into Sunday with baseball’s seventh-worst run support, and it didn’t improve thanks to Strasburg.
The 24-year-old stud picked apart the Phillies’ offense. Strasburg went eight innings, struck out nine and his lone run allowed came on a balk in the eighth.
Charlie Manuel said after the game that Ryan Howard did not play because of soreness in his knee again.
The Nationals took two of three from the Phillies in the first meeting between the two clubs. It was also the first series lost by the Phillies since May 1.
They now take on the Red Sox (31-20) for four games – two in Boston, two in Philadelphia. The Phillies catch a break on Monday, as Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz (7-0, 1.73 ERA) has been scratched because of irritation in his collarbone.
With that, here are the probable pitching matchups for the four games:
Monday – Tyler Cloyd (1-0, 2.70) vs. Alfredo Aceves (1-1, 8.20)
Tuesday – Cliff Lee (5-2, 2.48) vs. Ryan Dempster (2-5, 4.69)
Wednesday – Kyle Kendrick (4-3, 3.29) vs. John Lackey (3-4, 2.72)
Thursday – Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.21) vs. Jon Lester (6-1, 3.34)