The Nationals destroyed the Phillies on Wednesday night, winning by a 15-1 margin. While losing by such a wide margin may be shameful in and of itself, it may have been a specific incident within Wednesday’s game that was of greater shame to the Phillies. Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp struck out against reliever Trevor Rosenthal, becoming the right-hander’s first out of the season.
Coming into the game, Rosenthal failed to record outs on any of the nine batters he had faced. On March 30 against the Mets, he gave up back-to-back singles to Wilson Ramos and Jeff McNeil, walked Amed Rosario, then served up a two-run single to J.D. Davis. The next day, he allowed an RBI single to Rosario before being yanked. On April 3 against the Phillies, he walked Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery before the Vaudeville hook pulled him off stage. Finally, on April 7 against the Mets, he hit Dominic Smith with a pitch, then uncorked two wild pitches before walking Luis Guillorme.
With the Nationals leading 15-0 in the bottom of the ninth, manager Dave Martinez decided to bring Rosenthal into the game in the lowest of low-leverage situations. Things started off as bad as usual, with Rosenthal walking Rhys Hoskins on five pitches. That marked 10 consecutive batters faced to begin the season without recording an out. Rosenthal, however, bounced back by blowing a 100 MPH, 2-2 fastball past Andrew Knapp for the first out of the inning and the first out of the season for Rosenthal.
Rosenthal’s performance certainly did not inspire any confidence. After fanning Knapp, Rosenthal issued back-to-back walks to Odúbel Herrera and César Hernández to load the bases. Franco grounded out to first base to bring in a run, marring the shutout. Aaron Altherr, an outfielder who came in to pitch the top of the ninth, flied out to right field to end the game.
Rosenthal’s ERA no longer reads “INF” (for “infinite”), but is an unflattering 72.00. With one inning under his belt, he has yielded eight runs (all earned) on four hits and seven walks with one strikeout.