After last night’s disappointing Roy Oswalt debut plus a serious lack of offense, the Phillies were hoping to bounce back today against the Nationals. Oswalt threw one pitch and gave up a triple.
Tonight, Joe Blanton threw 3 pitches and the singles started coming. Blanton had 2 base runners with 2 outs in the 1st inning and from there, allowed 3 runs to score with a total of 5 singles in the inning.
Settling down after the first, Blanton pitched 4 clean innings but allowed another run in the 6th. He escaped the 6th with just one run thanks to an amazing diving catch by rookie Domonic Brown and then a double play after that. So it was 6 innings and 4 runs for Blanton; not great.
The Phillies bats did little to help early on, not scoring their first run until the 4th inning on a Wilson Valdez single. Carlos Ruiz hit a solo homer in the 6th and then Raul Ibanez had the big knock in the 7th. His two run homer tied the game up at 4-4. Ibanez has been the Phillies hottest hitter of late, which is nice to see after he struggled the entire first half of the season. In his last 10 games before tonight, Ibanez is hitting .438.
On the other side of the spectrum, Ryan Howard is suddenly not hitting at all. He got his very first day off of the year today as a result. Manager Charlie Manuel thought a little rest could do him some good. Howard had only 2 hits in his last 5 games. Cody Ransom got a start at first base in his place.
Things were quiet again until the 9th inning when Jayson Werth walked. Ross Gload bunted him over; Brown moved him to third on a ground ball out. But the big hero was Ruiz who, with his 3rd hit of the night, singled to score Werth, giving the Phils a 5-4 lead. It was also Ruiz’s 2nd RBI of the game.
But no lead is big enough when Brad “Heart Attack” Lidge is about to come into the game. He used to be “Light’s Out” Lidge, but I have renamed him; more appropriate, I think. The first batter Lidge faced singled and a bunt moved him to 2nd. Then he walked the next batter. Get out the nitroglycerin; I feel an episode coming on. Yes, there it is…Ryan Zimmerman + fast ball down the middle = 3 run homer + Nationals win.
Let us give Lidge a few more nicknames…why? Because it will make me feel better. How about Brad “Please go back on the DL” Lidge? Or Brad “Blown Save” Lidge. It could be “BS” for short. And then there is Brad “I Suck Big Time” Lidge.
Hey Ruben Amaro Jr., you have about an hour and a half to find us a closer. WE ARE DONE WITH LIDGE! Bring Vance Worley back up if you have to. This cannot continue to happen. This team battled their as*ses off to get back in this game and Lidge BLEW IT. We, the fans, have had ENOUGH.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography