Nothing to see here folks, except water. Monday’s eternal wait at Nationals Park might not have been worse than the 15-1 beating the Phillies absorbed the day before in Atlanta, but sitting around three hours for a game that would not be played must have come in a close second. Apparently, the Washington Nationals need a new meteorologist, or maybe they just wanted to torture the Phillies fans who had made the trip south.
Anyway, the Phillies and Nationals are scheduled to play Tuesday night at Nationals Park with Monday’s starters, Jake Arrieta and Patrick Corbin, still set to face each other. The teams will play two games Wednesday as part of a day-night doubleheader, with the opener scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and the nightcap for 7:05 p.m. The series will wrap up Thursday at 7:05 p.m.
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— Bob Brookover (email@example.com)
If the Phillies chose to watch the Atlanta Braves play the New York Mets during their long wait for Monday night’s game against Washington to be postponed, it simply affirmed what they had experienced firsthand over the weekend at SunTrust Park.
After hitting eight home runs and scoring 29 runs in winning the three-game series over the Phillies, the Braves had three more homers among their 16 hits in a 12-3 victory over the Mets. The Braves’' win pushed the Phillies to a season-high three games out of first place in the National League East.
The Braves are 13-3 in June after going just 30-27 through May. They have hit .300 and averaged 7.8 runs this month. The Braves pitching staff has a 3.76 ERA in June after carrying a 4.33 ERA into the month.
The Phillies, by comparison, are 6-8 in June. They are hitting .234 this month and are averaging just 4.4 runs. The Phillies entered June nine games over .500 and with a three-game lead over the Braves. They were hitting .245 and averaging nearly five runs through May.
The bigger problem, of course, has been pitching. The Phillies’ ERA this month is 5.98. It was 4.15 overall entering June and is now up to 4.50, which ranks 15th in baseball and eighth in the National League.
Columnist Marcus Hayes suggests you temper your expectations for the Phillies’ 2019 season and enjoy the ride. “Why? Because, despite their flashy roster additions and their bravado, 2019 was always a developmental season for the Phillies. They knew it all along.”
Jerad Eickhoff was removed from the starting rotation last week, and Monday the right-hander landed on the injured list with biceps tendinitis. The Phillies also activated Roman Quinn from the injured list and optioned Nick Williams to triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The tarp never came off at Nationals Park on Monday night, which meant Bryce Harper had to wait another day for his second homecoming against his former team. Harper was booed lustily during his initial trip to D.C. with the Phillies, but he was also scorching hot, going 5-for-7 with a double, home run, and three walks.
Odubel Herrera’s administrative leave was extended to July 1 on Monday after the Phillies centerfielder waived his initial court appearance that had been scheduled in Atlantic City Municipal Court. Herrera was charged May 27 with simple assault and knowingly causing bodily injury after his 20-year-old girlfriend told security at the Golden Nugget casino that he had attacked her. No new date has been set for Herrera’s next court appearance.
Tonight: Jake Arrieta will face Patrick Corbin, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Let’s play two. Game 1 is at 1:05 p.m. and Game 2 is at 7:05.
Thursday: Aaron Nola faces the Nats’ Stephen Strasburg, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: The Phils open a homestand against Miami, 7:05 p.m.
Monday: The Mets come to town for the start of a four-game series, 7:05 p.m.
Andrew McCutchen took a .378 on-base percentage with him when he was lost for the season earlier this month in San Diego. In 11 games since, the Phillies have used Cesar Hernandez for eight games and Jean Segura for three games in the leadoff spot.
Both have struggled mightily. The two have hit a combined .116 (5-for-43) out of the leadoff spot and have a .240 on-base percentage. Segura was slated to bat leadoff again Monday night for the fourth straight game.
Send questions by email or on Twitter @brookob.
Question: When are we allowed to criticize Harper’s approach to hitting? He must be leading MLB in swings and misses. He frequently pulls off pitches from lefties and makes few purposeful attempts to beat the shift. Didn’t we expect more?
— Allan M., via email
Answer: It’s a fair question, Allan. Based on Harper’s career numbers and, of course, the numbers in his 13-year contract, I think more was expected from him this season. And, yes, he does swing and miss a lot. His 29.4 strikeout percentage was the sixth highest in baseball going into Monday night’s games, and his 91 strikeouts were the second most.
On the other hand, he also walks a lot. His 13.9 walk percentage was 18th in baseball, and his 43 walks were tied for the ninth most. His numbers over his last 30 games — .282 with 11 doubles, five home runs, 24 RBIs, and an .840 OPS — have been very good, and he definitely makes the lineup significantly better with his presence.