Kyle Gibson's ERA since Sept. 1 coming into game one of Saturday's double header was 9.53, which looked good in comparison to his performance against MLB-worst Washington Nationals.
Aiming to redeem himself after a dismal start against the Atlanta Braves in a huge game last Sunday, Gibson surrendered seven runs in six innings of work against the Nationals.
The Philadelphia Phillies even spotted him a first inning lead, though the run they scored ended up being a little more dramatic than they had intended.
Kyle Schwarber led off the ballgame with a triple, but was stranded at third with two outs after Rhys Hoskins popped up, before Bryce Harper was intentionally walked and J.T. Realmuto struck out.
With two strikes on Alec Bohm, Harper induced a rundown between first and second base which allowed Schwarber to break for home and score on a wild throw.
Despite the fact the Phillies scored, it was disheartening to see interim manager Rob Thomson call for that play in that situation. The Phillies are built around offense, and if they need Little League tactics just to bring in a run, it doesn't show faith in the ability of his players, however necessary the play call was.
The Phillies 1-0 lead lasted for only a matter or minutes. Gibson allowed two baserunners before working to two outs. Luis García then lined a single over Jean Segura's glove to score Lane Thomas to make it a 1-1 game.
What that run did portend, was disaster.
Gibson got two quick outs in the second inning before the doors fell off. Back-to-back singles brought C.J. Abrams to the plate who hit a soft grounder at Segura, but the Phillies' second baseman took a bad route to the ball, hesitating and making a late throw.
Coming up next was Joey Meneses, former-Phillies farmhand and potential 2022 Rookie of the Year at age-30. He hit a weak liner to Alec Bohm's left but the ball snuck under his glove and went to the corner, bringing in three runs.
At that point, one could have blamed the Phillies defense and not their pitching, but things continued to fall apart for Gibson and the Phillies staff.
Still with two outs, he allowed a home run to the very next batter, Luke Voit, giving Washington a 6-1 lead.
Despite that hole, the game was still in reach with the Phillies potent offense waiting to strike and the aged arm of Aníbal Sánchez on the mound.
The Phillies punched back in the fourth, putting three runs on the board and two runners on for Rhys Hoskins, representing the go-ahead run. But Hoskins hit a weak liner to first base, it would be the final time the Phillies threatened all game.
Gibson kept the Nationals at bay through six, allowing one more run on a homer to Meneses, but a combination of Nick Nelson and Chris Devinski allowed six more runs together.
The Nationals brought in three in the seventh on two walks and three hits from Nelson, who was able to record only one out. Devinski came in and stopped the bleeding in the seventh, but surrendered three more runs of his own in the eighth on a three-run jack from García.
By that point, the Phillies yielded and brought in Nick Maton to take the mound. He was the only Phillies pitcher of the day who didn't surrender a run.
The Nationals took game one of the doubleheader in a disheartening 13-4 rout. The Phillies went to the clubhouse to await game two tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the third Wild Card.
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