The month of June did not start off as the Phillies may have hoped. After a win on Monday, the Phils went on to lose two straight to the lowly, last place Washington Nationals by a score of 2-1.
Domonic Brown was almost the hero as he blasted a shot to left center that should have scored the three runners on base at the time. But the Nats left fielder, Laynce Nix, ripped the Superman cape right off Brown’s back, put it on himself and literally flew through the air to snatch the ball out of no-man’s land. Nix won the tug-o-war battle.
That catch will be on highlight reels all week. Nix also hit the go-ahead home run off pitcher Roy Oswalt. He was a one-man wrecking crew.
Oswalt had a descent game, allowing just the two runs. He was pulled early after five innings in order to send Brown in with the bases loaded, after which Brown was robbed of that big hit.
The real disappointment, however, was watching the Phillies offense revert back to old habits. They had only five hits in the game, went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 9 men on base. Ryan Howard had two of the five hits. No one collected an RBI as the lone run scored after a Nats error.
Chase Utley is another concern. He is hitting only .194 since coming off the DL. And although he appears healthy, his swing is simply not there. That is especially concerning when you remember that the only thing Utley was able to do the entire time he was injured was hit.
The Phillies have a day off tomorrow to lick their wounds, but things do not get much better on Friday. They are headed to Pittsburgh and recent history shows the Phillies have a rough time there. Despite the Pirates fielding fairly awful teams over the years, the Phillies simply play badly in Pittsburgh. They better hope that changes.
Shane Victorino should be back for the series, which will hopefully be a nice boost for the offense. However, who will be sent down to make room?
My feeling is that John Mayberry Jr. has to stay, as he is the only suitable center field back-up who can match Victorino’s defense. Brown should be here to stay. Michael Martinez is a Rule-5 and the Phils do not want to lose him. But Ross Gload is injured. He can hit, but cannot run or play the field. If it were up to me, he’d be going on the DL to make room.
Another option is pitcher Mike Zagurski, but it seems like the Phillies want an extra pitcher around. However, Zagurski still has not shown he is a major leaguer.
It is a tough decision. Glad I do not have to make it :O)
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography