It is never fun to watch the Phillies lose. It is even less fun to watch the Phillies lose to the Washington Nationals. It is the least fun to watch the Phillies lose to the Washington Nationals led by a guy who left via free angency last season. In addition, the Phillies were shut down by a guy who can not throw over 84 MPH (although I have made my feelings about Cuban defectors well known). Well, that happened tonight.
Jayson Werth led the Nats over the Phils by going 2-3 with two runs scored and a home run. Livan Hernandez went 6 2/3 innings allowing seven hits, one run and striking out six. Livan allowed a second inning home run to Ryan Howard and little else throughout the rest of his outing. He kept the Phillies off balance with his 62 MPH curve and 80 MPH fastball. This was one of those nights that looked as if the Phils were trying to hit a home run with every swing and this is when Hernandez is at his most effective. It seems like the harder that people swing at his junk (mind out of the gutter everyone) the more apt they are to weekly pop out to shallow left. Wheels made the point that he used to be able to throw hard, but has now become akin to Jamie Moyer relying on deception as opposed to pure ability to get people out. Wheels has fake hair.
Joe Blanton made the start tonight for the Phils. He was attempting to make amends for his previous start versus the Mets. He allowed seven hits and five runs in his six innings of work failing to bounce back after a poor start. After Ryan Howard staked Joe to a one run lead in the top of the second inning and in the bottom of the inning Blanton allowed Wilson Ramos to double and later score on a Danny Espinosa sacrifice fly. He ran into trouble again in the bottom of the fourth inning. Werth led off the inning by crushing a double, followed by another double from Ramos. 2-1 Nationals. Laynce Nix singled and Danny Espinosa walked to load the bases witch was followed by Jerry Hairston Jr.’s first hit of the year. Livan Hernandez bunted home Nix to give the Nationals a 4-1 lead. These are the kind of innings that drive fans crazy. Well, crazier.
The Nationals added single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings to make a Phillies comeback less likely. The Phils added two runs in the eighth and one run in the ninth, but could not complete the comeback falling short 7-4.
Positives from today’s game were the continued hard contact that Jimmy Rollins is making out of the three hole. Jimmy was 2-5 today and two of the outs he made were solid line drives. Placido Polanco continued to hit the ball hard going 2-5 with an RBI.
Joe Blanton and a wild effort from the bullpen (four walks in two inings) and the aforementioned struggles against Livan Hernandez summed up the negatives from today.
Roy Hallday takes on John Lannan tomorrow at 7:05.