How cool did it feel out there today?
The Phillies defeated the Nationals, 8-3, behind some clutch hits by unsung players. The bullpen — even the filler — shut down the Nats after starter Kyle Kendrick put in four innings of work. It was business as usual for the division champs, as the Phils finished the season with a fantastic 92-70 record.
The highlight of the day came late: Lou Marson, in his first major league start, on a 1-for-3 day so far, took a pitch deep into the left field seats. A fine career got off to a great start as Marson knocked his first career round-tripper. And the silent-treatment reception in the dugout? Priceless.
It was one of those days — in the most meaningless baseball game in Philadelphia since probably the Brandon Duckworth days, the good guys put on a nice show. The oft-maligned So Taguchi went 3-for-5 with a triple, three RBI and a run. Tadahito Iguchi, getting his first start since he was the emergency second baseman last season, went 2-for-5. Eric Bruntlett went 2-for-5. Matt Stairs killed a pitch for his second Phillie homer.
And a few regulars got in. Ryan Howard padded his numbers with a single and a run. His average, now at .251, isn’t so bad now. Jayson Werth also singled and scored.
And the pitching. Kendrick was mediocre, showing he will need that instructional time. The bullpen did their job, with Les Walrond, JA Happ and Rudy Seanez cleaning up for Clay Condrey. A great gesture — Condrey, sticking it out all season without a demotion, proved himself worthy of a 25-man roster spot and an increased role in the ‘pen. He deserved to be on the mound, getting those final outs to close the season.
But the bright spot has to be Marson. Your whistles have been whetted. Marson will be on this club at some point, making real contributions in important contests. But on this day he handled the pitching staff very well, played a solid backstop and looked like a bonafide hitting threat. Your future on display. And now that that one is over … bring on the … !
Associated Press photo