It started out with a thriller that lasted 12 innings on Friday night. Then, came the day and night doubleheader that featured both teams showing off their homerun prowess. And in the series finale, the Phillies came from behind, to beat the Washington Nationals, 8-6, and to record the series sweep.
On Friday, the Phillies threw Joe Blanton, against Washington Nationals John Lannan. The game was a back and forth battle that featured the Phillies coming back from down two runs, to tying it up, to then leading going into the 9th inning. Then Brad Lidge came in and blew yet another save in the young season. Because of the blown save the Phillies basically wasted their whole bullpen on the game that went into extras. The more disturbing headline that came out of the game was not that Lidge blew another save, but that the starter for the nightcap of the double header on Saturday, J.A. Happ, pitched two innings in relief, and thus was unavailable to pitch in his scheduled start. Happ ended up getting the win after pitching two scoreless innings. The Phillies hitters came out of their funk, backing Happ with 4 runs in the 12th. Happ, then went on to close his own game, finishing with the well earned W.
In the first game of the double header, Brett Myers got the ball. Myers pitched well, only allowing three hits and two earned runs. Those two earned runs just happened to be both homeruns, but Myers’ latest outing was his best showing of the season. The good and long outing was a timely one as well, as the Phils needed it with the whole bullpen basically unavailable because of the extra innings that the previous nights game went into.
Offensively, the Phils were backed by Raul Ibanez’s two monster homeruns. Watching the game, it sounded like the many Phillies fans that made it out to the game were booing Ibanez, but it turned out to just be the fans chanting Raaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuulllllllllll!!!! It truly is amazing how short of a time it took for these fans to praise Ibanez the way that they do with the true stars of Philly.
Other than Ibanez, Jayson Werth also hit a homerun, and Jimmy Rollins hit a couple of balls and also scored a run.
In the nightcap of the doubleheader, the Phillies called upon recently called up pitcher Andrew Carpenter. Carpenter pitched decent enough to earn his first career win, but he also has a lot of room for improvement as well. Carpenter gave up five runs over 4.1 innings. The game only went 5 innings, so I guess that you could say that Carpenter almost went the distance! Carpenter registered 4 strikeouts, and three walks.
On offense, Ryan Howard hit a towering drive for a homerun, and Raul Ibanez continued his tear through the league with yet another homerun! Chase Utley also went 3-3 in the game. When the game was delayed, the bases were loaded with Howard at the dish. Imagine the possibilities!
In the last game of the weekend series, Chan Ho Park sadly returned to form. In only 1.1 innings, Park let up 5 earned runs to already put the Phils in a 5-3 hole. Yes, Park had the lead right out of the gate and still managed to give it up. Relief pitcher jack Taschner was the hero of the day, coming in to relieve Park. Taschner worked out of multiple jams to save some of Parks’s ERA. The Phils rallied, to make the score 5-5 in the 3rd inning, but then lost it when Ryan Zimmerman hit a sac fly to score a runner to make the score 6-5 in favor of the Nats. The Phils were held off the board for only two more innings before they capitalized on a costly error that gave the Phils the go ahead runs. On a Pedro Feliz sac bunt, the pitcher, Randy Villone, made an errant throw to first, that the first baseman, Anderson Hernandez did not even try to catch. That scored two runs, to put the Phils ahead by one run. Then, later in the inning, pinch hitter Eric Bruntlett drove in another run with a double over left fielder Josh Willingham’s head to make the score 8-6. That would prove to be the final with Scott Eyre coming in to pitch 1.1 solid innings, and Brad Lidge recording the save without an earned run allowed for the 2nd straight game. Some extra notes coming out of the last game were that new call-up Sergio Escalona got the win. He pitched a scoreless 7th to get the timely win.
Overall, the Phils proved that they can hit with anybody, and showed that if teams let them hang around, that they will pay later in the game. It also looks that Lidge is starting to come into his own now, so that gives fans an even better reason to get excited about the possibilities to come. Also, with the New York Mets losing on Sunday night, that puts the Phils only a .5 game out of first place.