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Lost in the excitement over the Eagles first win of the season and Pope Francis taking over Philadelphia was the second to last weekend series of the season for the Phillies in our nations capital. In one weekend the Phillies won two out of three games, did not renew Cliff Lee’s contract for 2015 (yes, he is still a Phillie), and Jonathan Papelbon blew another game against his former team and physically fought one of his new teammates.
Friday and Saturday were the tamer of the two days in this interesting three-game series. The series started on Friday as the Phillies beat the Nationals, 8-2. The game was highlighted by Aaron Altherr. Altherr went went 4-5 and was responsible for five of the Phillies eight runs. Two of those four hits were home runs. The game was 6-1 by the fifth inning and the Nationals never came back to within striking distance. Jerad Eickhoff earned his second win of the season as Jordan Zimmerman took the loss.
Saturday was the only game in the series the Phillies lost as they fell to the Nats in a close one, 2-1 in 12 innings. This game was dominated by pitching. The Phillies were only able to muster one run off of ace Stephen Strasburg; an RBI double off of the bat of Brian Bogusevic in the eighth inning. With the game tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the 12th inning, Bryce Harper doubled in Anthony Rendon for the walk-off win. Colton Murray took the loss for Philadelphia.
Sunday was a crazy day in Philadelphia. The Eagles finally won a game. The Pope had mass on the Parkway. It was easy to miss the rollercoaster of a day the Phillies had. The Phils started the day by announcing they would not be picking up Lee’s 2016 option. This pretty much ends his career with the Phillies, if not with Major League Baseball. Lee hasn’t pitched since the 2014 season and has been plagued with potential career ending injuries. Yet there was still a game to play…
Sunday’s box score will read 12-5 in favor of the Phils, but the line is misleading. The game was a back and forth affair up until the ninth inning. The Phillies had just tied it up the inning eigth inning when former Phil Jonathan Papelbon came in for one out in the eighth inning and to start the ninth inning in a tie-game. Papelbon imploded and gave up five runs. Andres Blanco hit a two-run home run and after loading the bases with two outs, Papelbon was removed from the game. Sammy Solis came in to complete the frame, but not before allowed six more runs. Three of those six additional runs were credited to Papelbon. While the Nationals scored one more run in ninth inning, but the game was for the Phillies taking at that point.
It was what happened in Sunday’s game in the bottom of the eighth inning that is noteworthy and something a box score won’t show. Nationals Harper flew out in the eighth inning and when coming back in the dugout, Papelbon exchanged words with his teammate. Those words led to Papelbon reaching for Harper’s throat as a physical altercation ensued. Teammates had to break up the two players.
The Phillies head back home for the final week of their season. They start their final homestand with a three-grame series against the Mets. First pitch of the series is Tuesday at 7:05pm.