“We’ll be alright,” said Charlie Manuel with a laugh. If only the entire fan base believed that wholeheartedly, there would be a lot less concern.
For those hoping the Phillies would wrap up their home schedule with a bang instead were sent home with barely with a whimper. Fan Appreciation Night turned to Fan Depreciation Night after another halfhearted effort sent the Phillies 6-1 loss to the Washington Nationals. For the first time since June 2009, the Phillies have lost six consecutive games.
Roy Oswalt was solid for seven innings, but unraveled in the eighth, giving up four runs with two outs. In 7 2/3 innings, Oswalt gave up seven hits while walking two and striking out four. With a popping fastball and a slick array of off-speed pitches, Oswalt looked like the man of old; the guy the Phillies got before the back injury this season sapped his velocity and caused him to miss extended time. Early on, Oswalt’s fastball was full of life, topping out at 94. In his final inning, the gun still read 94, even hitting 95 on the stadium radar. “Probably the best I felt all year,” said the Phillies fourth ace.
He lost control in the eighth, allowing a single, double, and walk, before serving up a three-run gopher ball to Michael Morse to put Washington up 6-0.
Oswalt opined that had one or two plays gone differently, he could have gone eight innings and given up no runs. He didn’t sound like a happy camper post game, struggling to find the words to describe what unfolded behind him. Then again, how could you be when your offense supplies you with two hits.
Their only real shot of life came in the sixth inning with the bases loaded on three walks in the inning. They came up empty as Raul Ibanez flied out to center field to end the threat. In the ninth, with two outs and the game already over, John Mayberry Jr. doubled down the left field line (he’s a beast) and then scored on a Carlos Ruiz single. Far too little, far too late.
The top of the order again struggled mightily. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Chase Utley finished a combined 0-for-10 on Thursday night, and an awful 0-for-37 in the series. Lord.
But Charlie says they’ll be OK, and at this point you have to pray he’s right. Because nothing is OK right now, except for the fact that they’ve clinched everything there is to clinch. Perhaps a stint away from home will get the competitive juices flowing again.
Nats rookie Brad Peacock flapped his wings and tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit.
A bit of good news from an otherwise bad night; Joe Savery pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning in the first full frame of his major league career.
The full compliment of players should be returning soon. Manuel said that Hunter Pence would be back in the lineup on Friday in New York against the Mets and that Ryan Howard would join him on Saturday. Howard will likely play every other game until the end of the season on Wednesday, according to the skipper. So, for a few games, we’ll get to see the playoff lineup in tact.
the turnstiles got quite a workout this year at Citizens Bank Park. With 45,064 more people filling the park on Thursday, 3,680,718 fans paid for baseball this year in South Philly, a new franchise high. Be proud, Nation. You did a hell of a job.