The injury whammy struck the Phillies again today early in the 1st inning against the Nationals. Ryan Howard got hit in the elbow with a pitch and then twisted his ankle a few pitches later. Ben Francisco hit a single and Howard rounded 2nd, thinking about 3rd base. He awkwardly rushed back to 2nd and his ankle turned over. Howard had to be helped off the field; even worse, he got an Atomic wedgie in the process:
If Howard lands on the DL, that will mean the entire starting infield for the Phils either are or have been on the DL at some point this year. The only 2 team starters without a DL trip would be Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez. Although, Ibanez sat out of the game today after he bent his wrist diving for a ball yesterday. And with Chase Utley and Shane Victorino both on the DL, that means 4 starters were out of today’s game for the Phillies.
The Phillies played on, minus a good deal of fire power, and having lost the 1st two games of this Nationals series in horrible fashion. The offense is just not hitting again. They had a nice run with the 8-game win streak, but that has been the only highlight of nearly the last 3 months. Where did the offense go?
For starters, injuries have put a huge hole in the line-up all year long. Then there are some very telling stats. For instance, this year Jayson Werth is hitting only .157, 14-for-89, with 3 homers and 35 RBIs with runners in scoring position. With 2 outs and RISP, Werth’s average drops to .104. As a team, the Phillies have hit .257 with runners in scoring position, which is 11th in the league. With 2 outs, it drops to .225.
Today against the Nats, the Phillies went just 4 for 16 with runners in scoring position and 11 men left on base. Placido Polanco and Ben Francisco each had 2 hits and 3 RBI between them through 10 innings, and that was most of the action all day. The 4-4 tie held until the 11th inning when Valdez busted down the 1st base line for a bunt single. Roy Oswalt came off the bench to bunt; a small redemption for his loss on Friday. Polanco singled Valdez home with 2 outs for his 3rd hit and 2nd RBI of the night.
And then, Werth’s ears must have been burning as I wrote the paragraph above about his lack of hitting with RISP…because he smacked a double to score Polanco and put the Phils up 6-4. So the Phillies, again, battled back to get the lead and what does Charlie Manuel decide to do? You guessed it; looks like Brad “Heart Attack” Lidge time again.
Lidge blew the save yesterday in spectacularly bad fashion. With his job likely on the line today, Lidge got three quick outs to win the game. I do not know what Manuel said to him before today’s game, but whatever it was, he needs to say it to Lidge every day.
As for Cole Hamels, he went 7 innings and allowed 4 runs. Not his best outing, but again, he did not get any offensive support. Hamels got another no-decision as a result. But the Phillies escaped total embarrassment, winning one game against the Nats, 6-4.
The Phillies have the day off tomorrow and will head to Miami for a 3-game series with the Marlins starting on Tuesday.
Werth photo by Jenn Zambri Photography