PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

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Click here to enter tonight's live game thread as the Nationals take on the Phillies. 

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There are nights when a manager will explain a loss away by claiming his guys hit the ball hard, but everyone knows it's mere lip service for an otherwise lackluster performance at the plate.

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals, to the surprise of nobody, got another strong start from Doug Fister.

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The Nationals' bullpen, as dominant a unit as there has been in baseball through much of the season, has suddenly and surprisingly fallen onto hard times.

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In what has been the most inconsistent season of Gio Gonzalez' career in Washington - and so far his worst overall since 2009 - the ups and downs have been dramatic and steep.

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