Thursday, September 04, 2008

Phils Drop Series to Nats

The Phillies, allegedly girding themselves for a run at the NL East lead, dropped a series they easily could have won last night by losing to the Nationals by a score of 9 - 7.

The game got off to a good start, with the Phils posting 2 runs in the top of the first on a home run from Ryan Howard. But starter Joe Blanton, who only lasted 4 innings last night, gave those 2 runs back in addition to 2 more runs before giving way to Ryan Madson and bullpen in the fifth inning.

The bullpen, led by Chad Durbin, has been one of the most reliable parts of the Phillies this season. Not last night. Durbin came in during the 7th inning and gave up a bomb to straightaway centerfield to Ryan Zimmerman. He combined with JC Romero to give up more runs in the 8th inning allowing the Nats to salt the game away, despite the Phils scoring 2 in the top of the ninth.

Offensively, the Phils were led by Ryan Howard's 2 homers and Chase Utley's 2 RBI.

The Phils begin probably their most important series of the season this Friday at Shea Stadium when they take on the Mets. According to various reports, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is looking to move up Cole Hamels' start so he gets the opportunity to face the Mets in what will be his first start against them this year. Anything less than taking 2 of 3 and the Phils are putting themselves in a mighty big hole down the stretch.

Probable Starters:

Friday: Myers vs. Pelfrey
Saturday: Moyer vs. Martinez
Sunday: Hamels vs. Santana.


- The whole business with the Nationals having to make sure they got their pound of flesh from Chase Utley for bowling over their catcher was astounding. For one thing, Utley never went at the guy's head; it was a shoulder to shoulder hit. Secondly, let's not forget it was Nationals starter John Lannan who hit Utley with a pitched ball last year, shelving Utley for period of time down the stretch last year. So if any team should have had a beef, it should have been the Phillies.

Back to last night....Utley was hit by a pitched ball from Odalis Perez and was upended on a hard (clean) take out slide by Lastings Milledge. Hmmmm......

Let's add on that Chase Utley leads the league in being hit by pitched balls and frankly, I think it's now time for the Phillies pitchers to begin protecting the All-Star second baseman. Interestingly, Washington comes to Philly for the last series of the year. If the Phils are out of the race by then, things could get nasty.

Photo: Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

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