In his 2016 MLB debut, six innings of shutout, two-hit ball from Alec Asher combined with a four run third inning from our Philadelphia Phillies (63-77) ended up being more than enough to take care of the division leading Washington Nationals (82-58) with a 4-1 victory at Nationals Park on Thursday night.
Asher’s stuff was good enough to get the win and was a very solid improvement from his 2015 rookie year which saw him post a 9.30 ERA in 29 innings of work. He didn’t record a single strikeout and was the beneficiary of several loud outs from the Washington hitters, but he also only walked a single batter and stayed consistently ahead of the count with a very efficient 75 total pitches and earned his first major league win. Accquired from the Texas Rangers in the Hamels trade last year, the 24-year old certainly showed enough to give him a couple more starts to close out the season.
It was a pair of long balls that provided all the offense for the Phillies, with Peter Bourjos opening the scoring by knocking a long solo shot off the left field foul pole for his 5th home run of the season. Just a few batters later it was a three-run shot to left center from Ryan Howard, his 21st of the year as he continues to make the most of his .195 batting average. There wasn’t much else to talk about on offense as the Phillies managed only six total hits, and nobody had more than one.
The Nationals had their best chance in the 8th after loading the bases with one out against Hector Neris, but could only manage a sac fly from Daniel Murphy before Bryce Harper struck out swinging to end the threat. Jeanmar Gomez gave up a 9th inning single, but that would be all as he cruised to his 36th save and the 3rd win in the last four games for our Phillies.
- The 63 wins matches the 2015 total for Philadelphia. With 22 games left to play, it’s all gravy from here! As the youngsters continue to develop, no reason to think they won’t be able to improve that total again in 2017.
- 3B Maikel Franco didn’t appear in the game and remains day-to-day with a sore right thumb.
The four-game series continues on Friday as Jake Thompson (1-5, 6.48 ERA) takes the hill for the Phillies. He’ll be opposed by Tanner Roark (14-8, 2.89 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.