I remember when I was growing up, all I wanted to do was grow a beard. Cool dudes like Steve Bedrosian and Jeff Reardon had beards and they looked kind of like vikings wearing baseball uniforms. Seriously, who doesn’t want to be a baseball playing viking? Now I have the ability to grow my very own beard, but I am still interested in people with facial hair.
Enter Jayson Werth. Remember when Pat Gillick acquired Jayson? There were concerns about his ability to return from a pretty severe wrist injury and he was clean shaven. He evolved from platooning with Geoff Jenkins into an all-star right fielder. Along the way he became the Phillies all time leader in post season home runs with thirteen and grew a pretty ridiculous beard. He grew the kind of beard that you grow if you are unemployed.
The Phillies took on the Nationals and Jayson Werth for the first time in Citizen’s Bank Park this evening. The fans present at the game boo’d Jayson initially, but after a doff of the cap and a wry smile, Philadelphia remembered that he was a pretty good player and cheered his return. Werth went 0-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Mostly he made me aware of how average Ben Fransisco’s throwing arm is.
Nationals not getting hits was the theme of the night as Cole Hamels threw a five hit complete game. It seems that Mr. Hamels is beginning to master the cut fastball as it is fast becoming not only a good complementary pitch, but an additional out pitch. Hamels also had a pretty effective day at the dish going 2-3 with run scored. Remember when Cole pitched against the Mets and looked really bad? Me neither. Cole is 4-1 with an ERA under three now.
Livan Hernandez is a pain in the ass. It looks like major league hitters should club the shit out of every piece of crap that emanates from his right arm. The Phillies collected a bunch of hits off of Hernandez (ten in his 6 1/3 innings of work), but they could not deliver the knockout punch. Hernandez induced a few double plays with men in scoring position to negate rally opportunities and pitched out of trouble all night. The positive part of facing Hernandez centered on the fact that the soft tossing righty did not completely shut down the offense. Usually guys like him eat the Phils alive, but they put together a bunch of really good at bats against him.
Raul Ibanez was 0 for a lot in his last bunch of games. There were times that it was a huge positive that the guy hit the ball out of the infield. It is always hard to tell if a guy is cooked, or just going through a slump. It makes it even more difficult if the guy in question is 39 years old. This is the type of ineptitude that makes you wish that the guy it is happening to is a complete asshole. By all accounts, Raul is a really nice guy which makes his slump nearly impossible to watch. He finally got a hit with a ground rule double in the bottom of the forth inning and followed that with an inept outfielder assisted RBI double in the bottom of the seventh. Good for you Raul. You will probably start hitting just in time for Domonic Brown to be ready to replace you.
The final score of the game was 4-1 and it could have easily been 14-1. It would be nice to not look like a bad offense in front of Werth. I would equate this to not showing up with an ugly girl when your ex-girl friend is at the party.
Tomorrow night the Phillies take on undefeated starter Jason Marquis (3-0 2.62) countering with rookie Vance Worley. Baseball playing vikings? Only in dreams.