Phillies Vs. Nationals: Mental Errors Cost Nationals In 5-4 Loss

The Nationals lost their third straight one-run game, falling 5-4 to the Phillies.

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Phillies Vs. Nationals Final: Nationals Still Can't Get Over That Hump, Lose 5-4

The recent string of one run losses by the Washington Nationals have to be devastating to both the team and its fans. To come so close to victory, but then have it snatched away by either luck, bad luck or just plain lack of fundamentals by the team is poisonous. It happened again on Memorial Day Monday as the Philadelphia Phillies edged the Nationals 5-4 at Nationals Park.

The Nationals had a 4-3 lead going into the seventh-inning thanks to home runs from Michael Morse, Danny Espinosa and Laynce Nix, but in that inning starter Livan Hernandez began to tire and reliever Sean Burnett was brought in to put the Phillies out of commission. Unfortunately it was the reverse. Burnett gave up an RBI single to Ryan Howard followed by a Raul Ibanez sacrifice fly to give the Phillies a one run lead.

The Nationals had an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth, but a base running gaffe by infielder Alex Cora caused him to get caught in a run down and tagged out taking the Nationals out of scoring position. After that, the Nationals unceremoniously played the game to its miserable conclusion.

The Nationals fall to 22-31 on the year with little answers coming for their struggles.

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Phillies Vs. Nationals Score: Nationals Battle To 4-3 Lead

Something is odd at Nationals Park on Memorial Day Monday. No, it is not the unusual mismatching hats with the patriotic jerseys and no it isn't the hordes of visiting fans. The unusual thing is the scoreboard where the Nationals have taken a 4-3 lead on the Philadelphia Phillies and Roy Halladay in the seventh-inning.

Usually when these two teams meet it is the Phillies and their fans who seem to have a good time at the Nationals expense, but Monday Washington isn't necessarily rolling over to the joys of what Nationals fans made it to the Park on this hot, holiday weekday.

The Nationals started the game out right with Michael Morse going solo in the second-inning while pitcher Livan Hernandez plated a run on a sacrifice bunt the same inning. The Phillies roared back though in the fourth when Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back homers followed later in the inning by a Dominic Brown RBI single. Usually, this type of inning is enough to flatten the Nats, but second baseman Danny Espinosa wouldn't have it as he homered in the fifth-inning and then outfielder Laynce Nix followed suit in the sixth with a homer of his own to put the Nationals in front by one run.

Halladay for once is not making mince-meat of the Nationals giving up four runs on six hits in six-innings of work so far. That includes a first-inning where the Nationals did not score, but got the Philadelphia hurler to throw 20 pitches.

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Phillies Vs. Nationals: Nationals Renew Rivalry With Phillies On Memorial Day

The Washington Nationals have hit a funk winning only two games of their last 10 and have firmly planted themselves in the cellar of the NL East. The team was hoping to break out of that funk on the struggling San Diego Padres this past weekend, but it was the Nationals who were left struggling off their own home field losing two games of a three game series.

Now the Nats have to turn their attention to the new opponents coming into Washington on Memorial Day: the NL East leading Philadelphia Phillies who are bringing their tough-as-nails pitching corps with them. On Tuesday, the Nationals will have to wrangle in Cliff Lee, but on Memorial Day Monday they will have the task of somehow reaching and breaking Roy Halladay (6-3, 2.35 ERA) who holds an impeccable record against Washington. Halladay has a lifetime record of 10-1 with a 2.01 ERA against the Nats/Expos in 14 appearances.

This is something the offense-less Nats probably don't want to deal with on a holiday.

In response the Nationals are sending out starter Livan Hernandez (3-6, 3.71 ERA) to oppose Halladay. Hernandez has not won a game since April 28th. He has lost the last four starts he has had, but a part of that has to do with an offense that has not backed him up on the scoreboard. On Monday that offense will consist of center fielder Rick Ankiel starting in center and batting lead-off, a rested second baseman in Danny Espinosa and infielder Alex Cora taking over duties at shortstop for Ian Desmond.

 

Nationals Line-Up

Rick Ankiel - CF

Danny Espinosa - 2B

Jayson Werth - RF

Laynce Nix - LF

Michael Morse - 1B

Wilson Ramos - C

Jerry Hairston Jr. - 3B

Alex Cora - SS

Livan Hernandez - SP

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