So it is only one game, but last night’s Phillies loss to the Nationals was very bad on a number of levels. First, the inept Nats staff decided to start the game with a huge storm nearby. That lasted all of five minutes as four batters into the first inning, the game had to be stopped due to heavy rain.
For the second straight night, the Phillies had to endure a rain delay of more than two hours. It was 2:17 on Thursday and 2:22 last night. The game probably never should have been started last night, which put the Phillies into another jam with their starting pitchers.
While the Nats starter Livan Hernandez went back out after the delay, Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt was held out as a precaution due to his bad back. Oswalt had not even thrown a single pitch in the game, but because he warmed up and then cooled down, the Phillies moved Kyle Kendrick up a day to start.
So the game resumed with a 1-1 count on Ryan Howard who drew a 2 hour, 22 minute walk. That has to be some kind of record or at least an amazing exercise in patience ;o)
In their last outing against Hernandez, the Phillies could not hit him at all. This time it took until the third inning, but they finally started to figure him out. With one out, Jimmy Rollins doubled and then John Mayberry Jr. tripled to start the scoring. That was followed by a parade of hits, including a Chase Utley double.
By the end of the inning, the Phillies had scored four runs. In the meantime, Kendrick was pitching well and made it through six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Considering the short notice and extreme circumstances, Kendrick did an outstanding job.
The offense tried to tack on, but to no avail. So they took a 4-2 lead into the ninth inning, where it all fell apart. Ryan Madson had only blown one save this year, but it was clear after a 10-pitch at-bat to Jayson Werth where eventually Werth singled that Madson was not himself.
Three singles, two of which were softly hit bloops into no-man’s land, plus a bunt and a walk later, and Ryan Zimmerman came to the plate with the bases loaded and a tie score. Madson fell behind and soon after it was a full count.
Madson knew he had to throw a strike or he would walk the winning run home. Zimmerman knew this as well and was ready. He smashed the pitch into deep left field for a walk-off grand slam. Ouch.
This was a tough loss to swallow as under usual circumstances, the 4-2 lead would have been as close to a sure win as you can get for this Phillies team. But Madson was off his game and the blown save wasted a great performance from Kendrick.
While it is just one game, this one stung. Hopefully, the Phillies will have a little extra motivation tonight to get revenge. Game time tonight is 7:05pm and since he did not pitch last night, Roy Oswalt will get the start.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography