This felt like the end.
The Phillies, up three in the ninth inning Tuesday night, blew a three-run lead and lost in extras, 7-6 to the Nationals. The Phils’ five-run fifth inning — their biggest inning in nearly two months — was wasted.
Earlier in the day, they were shut down by a pitcher with a 7.08 career ERA.
The Phillies were swept in Tuesday’s doubleheader and ended their night a season-worst 6½ games back in the NL East after the Braves recorded a 4-1 win.
“Look, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, we are not playing good baseball right now,” Gabe Kapler said. “It is our job to stay the course, to stay unemotional, to not panic, specifically my job.”
In one day, the Phillies lost another series. It will be 34 straight games without a series win for a team that is now just four games over .500 at 74-70. Will they even finish with a winning record?
“As long as we are still in the race, as long as we still have games left with Atlanta, and as long as we can mathematically catch them, I will believe in this club,” Kapler said. “That will not waver.”
Aaron Nola (16-4, 2.29) opposes Stephen Strasburg (7-7, 4.04) in Wednesday night’s series finale.
Seranthony Dominguez looked great in the eighth inning but couldn’t protect a three-run lead in the ninth. After allowing two runs and loading the bases, Dominguez was pulled for Luis Garcia.
Garcia promptly walked Trea Turner with the bases loaded to tie the game.
In the 10th, Yacksel Rios was taken deep by Juan Soto, who also homered and doubled earlier off Jake Arrieta.
“Urgency is kind of a ridiculous thing to say, honestly,” Arrieta said. “Urgency, it’s accountability and responsibility. Take care of your end of the bargain, pick up your teammates. We’ve needed to be urgent for a long time and that just means win ballgames. We haven’t done that.”
Rhys Hoskins and Wilson Ramos made it a tough night on Tanner Roark. Hoskins doubled twice against him and Ramos singled twice, driving in two runs. Both ended up with three-hit games.
For Hoskins, they were doubles No. 31 and 32. He is one of only five players in the National League with at least 30 doubles and 30 homers. The others are Paul Goldschmidt, Javier Baez, Trevor Story and Matt Carpenter.
As for Ramos, the guy has done nothing but hit when healthy for the Phils. In 18 games, he’s batted .404 with a 1.060 OPS, nine extra-base hits and 13 RBI.
The Phils should absolutely make a push to re-sign Ramos, even if it might cost something like $45 million over three years. You can count on one hand the number of difference-making offensive catchers. He’s one of them.
Earlier in the day …
The Phillies lost 3-1 in Game 1. They mustered nothing against Erick Fedde, who entered with a 7.08 ERA in 10 career starts.
Here’s a look at how often this season the Phillies have been shut down by a mediocre young pitcher (see story).
Attempting to catch a ball in foul territory to start the eighth inning, Maikel Franco fell upside-down into the Nationals’ dugout near the camera well (see video). After a delay of about 90 seconds, Franco hobbled off the field and was replaced by Asdrubal Cabrera.
Franco, who couldn’t really remember what happened, has a shoulder contusion and neck tightness. He told Kapler in the clubhouse that he’ll be fine, but it’s a virtual certainty that Franco will sit Wednesday with the off-day Thursday.