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What I liked / didn’t like about the Nationals three-day homestand against the Phillies.

Game 1: 2-1 win on Friday night (May 22)

Game 2: 8-1 loss on Saturday (May 23)

Game 3: 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon (May 24)

What I liked:

1. Bryce Harper – Harper had a solo homer and a walk in Game 1 and an RBI single, another single, an RBI groundout, a walk and an outfield assist in Game 3.  He did also have one of the Nats’ four errors in Game 2.

2. Max Scherzer’s start in Game 1 – Scherzer allowed one run in eight innings, giving up just four hits and a walk.

3. Gio Gonzalez’s start in Game 3 – Gio allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings, recording seven strikeouts.

4. The bullpen – Nats relievers combined to allow one run in nine innings, recording 13 strikeouts.

5. Casey Janssen finally being available – The Nats on Friday reinstated Janssen from the 15-day disabled list and placed Sammy Solis on it with left shoulder inflammation, retroactive to May 18.

The Nats signed Janssen to a reported one-year deal in February.  He’s in his age-33 season but is coming off a down season in which he dealt with food poisoning and his strikeouts-per-nine-innings plummeted.  But Janssen was very good over the previous three seasons Toronto.

What I didn’t like:

1. Stephen Strasburg’s start in Game 2 – Strasburg got rocked again, giving up six runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings on seven hits and a walk.  He gave up a two-run homer to Maikel Franco on an 0-2 pitch during the Phillies’ four-run third.  Maybe just as disturbing was Strasburg not backing up home plate on hits with men in scoring position during the Phillies’ two-run fourth.  He now has allowed four earned runs or more in four of his nine starts this season, during which he has a 6.50 ERA and 1.69 WHIP.  Strasburg also now has a 10.20 ERA over four starts in May.  He has allowed five or more earned runs in fewer than four innings pitched in two of his last three starts (he had done so twice in his career entering this season).

2. The defense in Game 2 – The Nats’ defense, which has been much better lately, was credited with four errors, including three during the Phillies’ two-run fourth.

3. The offense – A rare down series these for the Nats’ bats, which batted totaled just six runs, batted just .231 (21-for-91) and worked just five walks.

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