Baseball is weird. For a month, Raul Ibanez has been stinking up the joint, looking like he would never get a hit in a major league baseball game again and generally playing like a decrepit old man attempting to play a young man’s game. Ibanez went 2-4 last night and went 3-4 tonight. He even hit a home run. If my suspect addition holds up, Raul has five hits in the last two games with three of them going for extra bases.
“Baseball is ninety percent mental, the other half is physical.” This Yogi Berra malaprop sort of sums up some of the crazy crap that happens to people that play baseball. In the last two games, it seems that Raul has straightened out the mental part, it’s too bad that the physical half is still going to be 39. Here’s to hoping he can hoodwink father time for at least a few more months.
The National’s starting pitcher tonight was Jason Marquis who has thus far rebounded nicely from a horrific 2010 in which he was absolutely shelled (evidenced by his 6.60 ERA) and ultimately relegated to the disabled list for the majority of the season. Up until tonight he was undefeated (3-0) with an ERA under three. Marquis is one of those guys that Dave Duncan (St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach) plucks off the scrap heap and somehow convinces them that they are a real major league pitcher. Duncan helped Bob Welch win 27 games in 1988 and who the hell would have thought that was possible? That being said, Dave Duncan is the pitching coach for the Cardinals and Marquis is now a member of the Washington Nationals meaning that Jason is the responsibility of Nats pitching coach Randy St. Clair. This is a ton of pointless shit that I am shoveling at you considering the pitcher in question went five innings, gave up ten hits and seven runs. Marquis started well, but faded late giving up three runs in the fifth and another four in the sixth. I hope that St. Clair is good at giving hugs because after tonight, it looks like Jason could use one.
Vance Worley has done a really good job since Joe Blanton was bitten by the impingement bug pitching six innings of one run ball tonight. I still think it may be a touch premature to give the kid a spot in the rotation as his two good starts were against really bad baseball teams. He struck out seven including two a piece for Jayson Werth and Adam Laroche. It is always nice to have a few spare starting pitchers who are not Eaton-esque queued up in the farm system. I bet Worley’s success is making Joe’s elbow feel a lot better.
The Phils offense had a good night with every regular save Ryan Howard and Ben Fransisco collecting at least one hit. Raul put the team on top with his fifth inning solo homer and the bottom of the order set up RBI opportunities for Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco. The Phils exited the inning with a 3-0 lead. The Nationals scratched across a run in the top of the sixth with an RBI double from LaRoche. Marquis proceeded to allow a four spot in the seventh aided by a throwing error from Ian Desmond (huge suprise). The Nats got three back in the ninth after Danys Baez allowed a three run home run to Danny Espinosa. Baez’s ERA is beginning to creep up to a more Baez-like number of 3.38.
Worley looked good, Ibanez didn’t look too old and the bottom of the line-up went 7-14 in the Phillies 7-4 victory. Tomorrow the Phils go for the sweep with Roy Halladay on the bump. The Nationals counter with left hander John Lannan. If Lannan hits anybody, I don’t think he’ll make it out of the stadium alive.