If there were any questions about Roy Oswalt not pitching after the rain delay on Friday, those questions were answered tonight. With a fresh start and no interruption in his routine, Oswalt was very sharp.
Oswalt tossed eight innings of shut-out baseball against the Nationals, allowing eight hits and a walk. He began to look tired near the end of the eighth, but manager Charlie Manuel stuck with his man after a quick conversation on the mound. Oswalt looked fantastic and best of all, the back issues do not seem to be bothering him anymore.
Another guy who had an outstanding night was John Mayberry Jr. He had two hits and a walk tonight plus a huge play in the field. In the fourth inning, Ryan Zimmerman tried to go 2nd to home on a Jayson Werth single. Mayberry fielded the ball and fired. It was a perfect, one-hop throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz that nailed Zimmerman at the plate.
Mayberry’s play recently is prompting questions about whether Raul Ibanez should even be in the starting line-up. At the very least, this has already turned into a platoon with Mayberry starting against lefties. But as Mayberry continues to out-perform Ibanez, how long will Manuel keep his loyalty to Ibanez? That remains to be seen.
Several other players had multi-hit night’s as well including Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins. And once again, Wilson Valdez was right in the middle things with a huge triple that scored the Phillies first two runs in the fourth inning. And in the sixth, Hunter Pence hit his 14th of the year and fourth as a Phillie.
Michael Stutes took over for the Phillies in the ninth inning and had a nice outing. His last appearance was not great, so this had to be a relief for Stutes to get in a clean inning. The Phillies went on to win by a 5-0 score.
The finale of this 3-game series is scheduled for Sunday at 1:35pm with Roy Halladay pitching. Sadly, it appears more rain is also on the schedule. So cross your fingers & toes; with any luck, I will return from D.C. with photos.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography