Early homers send Phillies to sixth straight loss

Early homers send Phillies to sixth straight loss

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer earned his first victory in a Nationals uniform on Friday night, leading the club to a 7-2 victory over the Phillies. It was the third consecutive win for the Nats after a 2-6 start and set them up to clinch their first series win on Saturday afternoon.

After signing a seven-year, $210 million contract this offseason, Scherzer posted a 0.66 ERA through his first two outings but was 0-1. This time, the Nats backed up his stellar pitching with ample run support and solid defense.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Homers continue to be problem for Phillies' pitchers

Philadelphia has allowed 15 long balls in 11 games this season

Homers continue to be problem for Phillies' pitchers

WASHINGTON -- Phillies starter Sean O'Sullivan pitched effectively for most of his five-inning stint Friday night against the Nationals. There were just two pitches he'd love to have back.

The first came in the first when Bryce Harper smacked a 1-2 pitch over the center-field fence for a three-run homer. O'Sullivan wasn't as disappointed with the other pitch he'd like to have back, a solo homer to Danny Espinosa in the fourth, but those pitches were big reasons that Washington handed the Phillies a 7-2 loss, the team's sixth consecutive defeat.

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Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sandberg looking to get work for relievers during struggles

Sandberg looking to get work for relievers during struggles

WASHINGTON -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg had another tough issue to deal with as his team took a five-game losing streak into Friday -- getting his bullpen enough work.

Sandberg put closer Jonathan Papelbon into Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Nationals, and the right-hander threw a scoreless inning. Papelbon last pitched five days before, and Sandberg said he needed to get into a game.

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Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harang tries to keep early-season momentum alive vs. Nats

Harang tries to keep early-season momentum alive vs. Nats

The Nationals will try for their third straight win in the four-game series with the Phillies -- and fourth consecutive victory overall -- on Saturday afternoon.

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 8.64) is trying to rebound for Washington after a shaky start in Boston while Aaron Harang (1-1, 0.73) will try to keep going after two great starts to begin his season. The Phillies need the pitching as their offense continues to struggle.

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Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamels: Early-season homers 'definitely adding up'

Hamels: Early-season homers 'definitely adding up'

WASHINGTON -- Cole Hamels threw effectively for most of his start against the Nationals on Thursday. He just ran into a problem that continues to arise early in the 2015 season.

Hamels gave up two homers in a 5-2 Phillies loss to the Nationals in the opener of a four-game series. The left-hander now has allowed a Major League-high seven homers in his first 18 innings.

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Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Homers continue to haunt Hamels as Phils fall to Nats

Homers continue to haunt Hamels as Phils fall to Nats

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals continued to break out of their early-season offensive funk with a 5-2 victory over the Phillies on Thursday night at Nationals Park. Washington has scored 22 runs in its past three games and has won two straight for the first time this season.

Yunel Escobar homered on the game's first pitch from Phillies starter Cole Hamels. Michael Taylor's fifth-inning solo home run gave Washington a 3-2 lead, and Ryan Zimmerman had a two-run double as the Nationals produced an efficient six hits.

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Damian Cristodero and Jeff Seidel are contributors to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Results lacking, but Sandberg likes balance of lineup

Results lacking, but Sandberg likes balance of lineup

WASHINGTON -- The song remained the same for the Phillies' offense in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Nationals to start a four-game series.

The Phillies now are stuck in a five-game losing streak and have not been able to come through with hits at key times throughout the first two weeks of the season. It happened again Thursday, as the Phillies went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.

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Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard slotted 7th in Phils' order for first time since '06

Howard slotted 7th in Phils' order for first time since '06

WASHINGTON -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg shook up his batting order before the series opener with the Nationals on Thursday, and the biggest move was dropping struggling first baseman Ryan Howard to seventh in the starting lineup for the first time since 2006.

Howard went 1-for-3 with an intentional walk in Philadelphia's 5-2 loss to Washington. He twice flied out to left, drew the intentional walk that loaded the bases in a one-run third, and singled to right through a shift to start the ninth.

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Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Papelbon holds players-only meeting on Wednesday

Papelbon holds players-only meeting on Wednesday

NEW YORK -- Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon had something on his mind Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, so a few minutes before batting practice he hastily cleared the visitors' clubhouse of everybody except his teammates.

Once the doors closed he held a brief players-only meeting.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera's big night not enough as Phillies fall to Mets

Herrera's big night not enough as Phillies fall to Mets

NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud's first home runs of the year supported Jon Niese's first win as the Mets earned their first series sweep by topping the Phillies 6-1 on Jackie Robinson Day at Citi Field in their first game without David Wright.

Niese scattered nine hits, holding the Phillies to one run over 6 1/3 innings despite the best efforts of Odubel Herrera and Cody Asche. The pair combined for six hits and four doubles off Niese, but the lefty worked out of multiple jams and stranded eight runners. The Phillies left 11 men on base in all.

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Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sandberg, Howard talk about impact of Robinson

Sandberg, Howard talk about impact of Robinson

NEW YORK -- The Phillies wore No. 42 jerseys Wednesday to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day at Citi Field.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said he heard plenty of Robinson stories when Don Zimmer managed the Cubs from 1988-1991.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Williams vows not to take step back after loss to Mets

Williams vows not to take step back after loss to Mets

NEW YORK -- Jerome Williams stumbled Wednesday after he appeared to take a step forward last week against the Nationals.

He allowed 10 hits, five runs, one walk, two home runs and struck out one in five innings in Wednesday's 6-1 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. He had struggled terribly in his final three Spring Training starts, but allowed one run in six innings Friday in a victory over the Nationals. He could not build upon that success at Citi Field.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard seeing more fastballs, needs to make adjustments

Howard seeing more fastballs, needs to make adjustments

NEW YORK -- Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has not started twice in the team's first nine games, including Wednesday's at Citi Field against Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese.

Both times Howard has sat against lefties.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Second rehab start another positive step for Billingsley

Veteran goes five scoreless at Triple-A; could be in Phillies' rotation by early May

Second rehab start another positive step for Billingsley

NEW YORK -- Phillies right-hander Chad Billingsley threw five scoreless innings Wednesday in his second rehab start with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He allowed two hits, two walks and struck out three.

The veteran starter threw 73 pitches (44 strikes), and Billingsley said the plan is to make three more rehab starts, which would allow him to join the Phillies' rotation as early as the first week of May.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies continue to look for lefty relief

Phillies continue to look for lefty relief

NEW YORK -- The Phillies employed a double-switch in the sixth inning Tuesday, but curiously chose not to have left-hander Jake Diekman, who was part of the switch, start the seventh inning to face Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.

Murphy, who hits left-handed, homered against Phillies right-hander Dustin McGowan in the 6-5 loss.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Utley's 2 homers a big confidence boost

Utley's 2 homers a big confidence boost

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley's first week of the 2015 season will not be remembered as a strong one.

"Yeah, you could say that," Utley said. "It's not how you envision coming out of Spring Training."

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Utley's power not enough as Phillies fall to Mets

Utley's power not enough as Phillies fall to Mets

NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey delivered another six quality innings Tuesday in his first home start since 2013, leading the Mets to a chaotic, 6-5 win over the Phillies at Citi Field.

Mets manager Terry Collins was ejected and Harvey received a warning for plunking Chase Utley, who paced the Phillies with two home runs and three RBIs. But the Mets outslugged the Phillies on the night, knocking starter David Buchanan out of the game in the fifth.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sandberg explains moves in bizarre game against Mets

Sandberg explains moves in bizarre game against Mets

NEW YORK -- Phillies second baseman Chase Utley came alive Tuesday at Citi Field as the Phillies homered four times, but plenty of other interesting things happened to them in their 6-5 loss.

Three things begged questions:

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB head of youth sports Reagins discusses game's future

MLB head of youth sports Reagins discusses game's future

LOS ANGELES -- Tony Reagins has spent decades in the game of baseball, and he's worked in everything from marketing to baseball operations. Reagins, formerly the general manager of the Angels, has taken on a new assignment with Major League Baseball as the senior vice president of youth programs, and he took some time Tuesday to discuss his plans for the future.

Reagins, under new Commissioner Rob Manfred, will be in charge of consolidating the league's relationships with youth, high school and college baseball organizations around the country. Reagins attended the Civil Rights Game instructional clinic Tuesday at Rancho Cienega Recreation Center, and he spoke a bit about Jackie Robinson, the Urban Youth Academies and the future of the game.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Revere turns heads with spectacular grab

Revere turns heads with spectacular grab

NEW YORK -- Every part of Phillies left fielder Ben Revere is OK.

Revere made a fantastic diving catch in the fifth inning Monday afternoon in a 2-0 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson laced a ball down the left-field line, but Revere sprinted to the corner before going horizontal to make the catch.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harang providing impressive early returns

Harang providing impressive early returns

NEW YORK -- If he wishes, Phillies right-hander Aaron Harang can commiserate with Cole Hamels.

Harang allowed four hits, one run, two walks and struck out one over six innings of Monday's 2-0 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. He pitched well enough to win, but the Phillies got shut out for the second time in seven games.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies unable to back solid Harang vs. Mets

Phillies unable to back solid Harang vs. Mets

NEW YORK -- Coming into this season, the Mets knew pitching would be the key to their success. Jacob deGrom only fortified that belief during Monday's home opener, making two runs stand up in a 2-0 win over the Phillies at Citi Field.

DeGrom held the Phillies in check for 6 1/3 innings, allowing new closer Jeurys Familia and a stout Mets bullpen to handle the rest in front of a record crowd of 43,947. Though the Phillies mustered seven hits and a walk off deGrom, they could not cash in any of them for runs.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Search for offense ongoing for Phillies

Search for offense ongoing for Phillies

NEW YORK -- Ryan Howard remains confident the Phillies will hit. But when?

The Phillies lost Monday afternoon to the Mets at Citi Field, 2-0. It was their second shutout in seven games. The Phillies are hitting a meager .219, have just 10 extra-base hits and have scored just 16 runs despite a 3-4 record.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reliever Jimenez clears waivers, headed to Triple-A

Reliever Jimenez clears waivers, headed to Triple-A

NEW YORK -- The Phillies announced on Monday that left-hander Cesar Jimenez has cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies designated Jimenez for assignment over the weekend to make room for right-hander Sean O'Sullivan on the 25-man roster.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O'Sullivan hangs with Scherzer after callup

Righty returns from Minors, has effective outing in Phillies' No. 5 starter's spot

O'Sullivan hangs with Scherzer after callup

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies shipped Sean O'Sullivan to Minor League camp last month because they figured they had better options to be their No. 5 starter.

But as those options dwindled because of the ineffectiveness of other starters in camp, O'Sullivan suddenly became the logical choice. It surprised nobody last week when the Phillies announced he would pitch Sunday's series finale against Nationals ace Max Scherzer at Citizens Bank Park, but perhaps O'Sullivan's performance did.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Late rally comes up short in wild 10th

Late rally comes up short in wild 10th

PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals will take it any way they can get it.

They avoided a series sweep to the Phillies on Sunday, when right-hander Justin De Fratus uncorked a wild pitch to allow Yunel Escobar to score from third base in the 10th inning of a 4-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park. It was the go-ahead run with the Nationals also scoring a needed insurance run in the inning.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.