THE RESULT: Washington Nationals starter Ross Detwiler had his best start of the season, but got no support from his struggling offense, as Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies handed the Nats their 96th loss of the season, 4-2, before 45,210 rabid Philly fans.
Washington was swept in the three-game series and was outscored 15-3. They finished the season 3-15 against Philadelphia and are currently 4-10 in September.
To make matters worse, catcher Wil Nieves strained a hamstring and had to leave the game. The Nationals picked up catcher Jamie Burke from Seattle for cash, and placed him on the 40-man roster. They transferred Jesus Flores to the 60-day D.L. to make the move.
There was not much to this game except the mastery of Hamels (W, 10-9, 4.07). He retired the first 15 hitters, but then struck out the side. He threw 73 strikes in 109 pitchers and walked only one in eight innings, striking out 10 Nationals hitters.
The Nats finally got to Hamels in the seventh, as three straight singles by Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Willingham, and Elijah Dukes resulted in a run. Ian Desmond then walked to give D.C. loaded bases with one out. Hamels coaxed a fly ball out of Mike Morse and struck out Josh Bard to end the threat.
Dukes scored on a Desmond grounder in the ninth, after Dukes had tripled against Brad Lidge, but that's as close as the Nats would get.
Detwiler (L, 0-6, 5.80) went five innings. He gave up one earned run on four hits and one walk, striking out six, in what has to be considered his strongest performance as a National.
THE TAKEAWAY: Where did the bats go? This vaunted offense, which has been lauded all season long, has completely disappeared this month, especially the last three nights in Citizen's Bank Park, a supposed haven for hitters.
THE GOOD: Detwiler. Good to see him have some success heading into the off-season. Hopefully he gets another start and can get his first big league win this season.
THE BAD: Tyler Clippard. Peaches had trouble with the strike zone Thursday night. He walked three and gave up a hit for two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. Good team can come back from a spot of trouble from a reliever.
THE UGLY: Bad teams can't. The Nats are 4-10 in September, getting outscored 82-51. The .286 winning percentage is above only April (.238) this season.
NEXT GAME: The road trip continues, at Citi Field against the New York Mets. This was the site of early abomination, as umpires and the atrocious early bullpen conspired to produced some memorably bad baseball. J.D. Martin (4-4, 4.29) takes on Mike Pelfrey (10-10, 5.09) at 7:10 pm.