What. A. Mess.

I wrote this last Wednesday after Ryan Zimmerman walked off the Phillies in Washington:

For more than four months the Phillies were able to overcome an inconsistent offense, a league-worst defense, and an often erratic bullpen performance, but it appears whatever force that was fueling this team now ceases to exist. Instead, they now have the look of a team that knows it’s cooked.

If you didn’t agree with me then, that’s cool. Come. Join me:

Yes, that’s Vince Velasquez. Tagging up to go to third base. With two outs in the ninth inning. I gotta say, I don’t think the juice was worth the squeeze there.

The Phillies have won one of their past 10 series. They are 7-14 in their past 21 games. Since I’ve already said what I’ve needed to say about the 2018 Phillies here. And here. I’ll let those words stand, but since you have stopped by, we can talk about this game tonight.

Aaron Nola outdueled Max Scherzer for the second time in five days. The Phillies will enter this offseason with several questions, but there’s zero doubt that Nola is an elite talent. He showed why once again tonight over seven dominant innings of work:

Love that guy. Know who I don’t love? Carlos Santana.

He has underwhelmed for the vast majority of the season. I think that’s the nicest way I can say it. He made a terrible throw that cost the Phillies two runs in the seventh inning, a throw that also gave the Nationals life and cost both Nola and his team an important win in a must-have game.

I no longer have it in me to argue about his walks, batting average, or, really, any facet of his game. I don’t care that he walks. Here’s what I know: I do not want to watch him play baseball anymore. How’s that?

The Phillies’ bullpen, as it often has this month, blew yet another ninth inning lead after Anthony Rendon put a ball into orbit off of Pat Neshek:

Neshek, who entering tonight had not allowed a home run this season, was the latest Phillies reliever to spur a late game meltdown. The loss marked the Phillies’ fourth blown lead of three runs or greater in the past eight days. There’s no other way to spin it. It’s over.

If you are anything like me, you were absolutely ready for meaningful September baseball in this city. Barring a complete turnaround, it looks like we are going to have to wait at least one more year to see it.