This may be the only time in the entire pantheon of baseball that people watching the game actually missed that fat turd Joe West. He missed today’s game between the Phillies and Nationals because of what I can only assume was related either to him being overweight or into country music. There are a lot of times when we all bitch and moan about the umpiring, but know that in actuality, they got it right and we are just clinging to their incompetence to prevent a nervous breakdown. Tonight was not one of those nights. Joe West missed the game rendering the crew down an umpire. There was no third base umpire and the Phillies were absolutely shafted on two plays preventing them from scoring an insurance run late in the game.
With all the talk of Natitude and the likely focus on the jackassery of a portion of the Philadelphia fan base, this was probably the one game in which the Nationals had a distinct advantage on the pitching rubber. Wunderkind Stephen Strasburg versus a very average Kyle Kendrick. Contrary to what most people probably thought would happen to Kyle, he did not ruin everything in today’s game. In fact, he left the game with a lead over Strasburg and did more than anyone would have expected. He pitched especially well against former teammate Jayson Werth who went 0-5 with five men left on base. Kyle battled through five innings, allowing seven hits, but only one run. Again, this is more than any rational person should expect from Kendrick.
Do the Nationals have the market cornered on dudes who throw in the high nineties or what? Strasburg and Henry Rodriguez can touch triple digits with Tyler Clippard, Ryan Perry and Craig Stammen all hovering around the mid nineties. Strasburg is pretty impressive. He allowed three hits today, luckily two of them were home runs. His change up is 93 MPH and he looks like an utter pain in the ass to hit off of.
Phillies games seem to go a ton easier when the starting pitcher either throws a shutout, or they can hand the ball directly to Jonathan Papelbon. Kendrick went five innings, meaning that there was going to be another opportunity for the middle relief to do what middle relief does: blow it. Kendrick left the game with a 3-1 lead which Joe Savery unceremoniously allowed to be trimmed to 3-2 by allowing a walk to the struggling Danny Espinosa and a double to Rick Ankiel. Jose Contreras wiggled out of trouble thanks to some bad base running from Ankiel. Antonio Bastardo worked a perfect inning and Chad Qualls allowed the Nationals to tie the game at three by allowing an RBI double to Jesus Flores. It really seems a shame to watch a non implosion by Kyle Kendrick get wasted by a few pitches left up in the zone. That is exactly what happened tonight.
Michael Schwimmer took the loss in this one, but he didn’t pitch too badly. He made it through 2 2/3 innings, but was obviously out of gas by the end of his outing. He allowed a bases loaded single to pinch hitting Wilson Ramos in the bottom of the 11th.
All this probably would not have been necessary with a full umpire crew. In the top of the seventh, Shane Victorino led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a failed pick-off attempt. After a Ty Wigginton strikeout, Carlos Ruiz appeared to give the Phillies an insurance run with a ground ball that was obviously over the third base bag. With no umpire at third to speak of, the ball was called foul. Moments later, Victorino attempted to steal third and was called out when he obviously beat the tag. Chooch singled to right later in the at bat to make us all pine for Joe West’s presence. In all actuality, bad calls end up evening out throughout the season, but it is pretty hard to stomach when there are not enough umpires on the field for them to do their job properly. 4-3 loss for the Phillies.
The only thing left to do here is turn the page and hope that Vance Worley can save the bullpen tomorrow as he takes on Gio Gonzalez at 1:05.