Upon further review, Nationals have really gotten to those Phillies

The Nationals have become a machine.

Rolling through the National League, they have amassed 70 wins, the first team in the majors to do so. With Jayson Werth back in the lineup and Michael Morse swinging the hottest of bats, the Nationals have added consistent offense to what has been the best pitching in the league for the first 100 games.

And then there are the Phillies.

Wait a minute, you mean, and then there are the Braves.

Absolutely, the Braves are also humming along. They have quality pitching and a strong offense. Atlanta has won 65 games and is right in the race, just 4 1/2 games back and winners of 7 of its last 10.

Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and defending champion St. Louis all are well above .500 and also show the kind of strength needed to make a postseason run.

Los Angeles and San Francisco are powerful foes as well, each with strengths and lineups that can challenge for the pennant. Arizona is still above .500 and has had quality pitching to maintain its standing in the race.

And then there are the Phillies.

Oh, I almost forgot, it is really hard to even mention the Phillies because they are 18 1/2 games back, have had a huge fire sale (Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, etc.), and have not been relevant since April.

But the Phillies made a huge step toward respectability and importance in the NL East on Friday when Major League Baseball announced the Phillies had submitted a review request to have Jimmy Rollins' play on a grounder by Michael Morse changed from a base hit to an error.

Morse had been credited with a single in the third inning Aug. 2 against the Phillies. MLB agreed with the request and changed the play to an error.

That ended Morse's 18-game hitting streak.

Oh yes, in a review request that cannot be altered, the Phillies still have 61 losses and trail by 18 1/2 games in the East behind the Washington Nationals.

Way to get that scoring change accomplished. Glad you have all this free time to comb through the rule book and raise your hand in class to alert the teacher when a fellow student dropped a piece of scrap paper on the floor.

And the Nationals will keep on keeping on.

Michael Morse hit his 11th homer Friday, by the way. It was definitely a homer. Can't change that in the scorebook, because, well, it left the ballpark.

The Phillies and Nationals meet on the field nine more times this regular season, six more in Philadelphia. Plenty more chances to see how they stack up playing baseball. The official scorer will be on hand, too.


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