Typically, when one plays against a phenom such as Stephen Strasburg, one has to play almost mistake-free baseball.  Such was most certainly not the case for the Phillies on Sunday at Nationals Park in a 6-0 shutout of them, as Strasburg hurled the first complete game shutout of his career.

Strasburg pitched brilliantly for the Nationals, going the distance in a complete game effort, on four hits, while punching out ten batters.  It is the tenth time in his career that he posted double digit strikeouts in one game.  

For whatever reason, ex-Phillie's generally seem to play better against the Phillies than when they played on the team.  Jayson Werth is no different.  Ever since he left the Phillies, whenever he plays against his former teammates, Werth makes the Phillies regret letting him go.  This tendency was once again on display in the bottom of the first when Denard Span led off with a single, and was driven home by Werth on a single to give the Nationals an early 1-0 advantage.

When Kyle Kendrick pitches, he usually tosses a great game or a terrible one.  It is almost never in between.  His typical rough innings are in the first and middle innings.  Today was no different.  In the fourth, he lost his command a bit, leading to two more earned runs.  After Ian Desmond singled to start the inning and stole second, he scored on Wilson Ramos's single to left.  Once Steve Lombardozzi grounded out to the pitcher, Adam LaRoche was able to advance to third, and scored on Span's infield single to second to push the Nationals further ahead 3-0.

Good teams often do the little things right, and small nuances are more likely to go their way, whereas bad teams are always missing something, whether it is low-level hustle, mental mistakes, or just a sheer lack of effort.  As suggested before, the Phillies are indeed a bad team this year.  The bottom of the fifth was practically a mirror image of the fourth, but more sloppy.  After Kendrick loaded the bases to start the frame, it seemed as if the Phillies would be able to get out of the jam with limited damage.  Ramos appeared to have grounded out to Chase Utley.  Instead, Utley threw home, but Erik Kratz dropped the throw, allowing Desmond to score all the way from second.  As if that was not enough of a comfortable lead for the Nationals, Lombardozzi then singled to right, scoring LaRoche.  Ramos, however, was thrown out at third on the play.  Kendrick was lifted after facing Lombardozzi, and surrendering three more runs in the inning, while allowing the Nationals to jump out to a 6-0 lead.

Kendrick did not pitch well at all, tossing 4 1/3 innings, while surrendering six runs, four earned, on eleven hits, and striking out three.

The Phillies will look to bounce back when they travel to Turner Field to play the scorching hot Atlanta Braves.  Cole Hamels is still looking for his fifth win.

-  Samuel Botwinick is a staff writer for the Philadelphia Baseball Review.  Contact him at or @avdbkr20samuel on Twitter.

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