The Nats dropped the first to games of the Philadelphia Phillies, losing 4-5 Friday night, and losing 6-9 yesterday. The club could not keep the reigning world champions from hitting extra base knocks all weekend as the Phillies combined for ten doubles, two homers, and one triple in two games at Citizens Bank Park.
It’s been an odd change of ways for the Nationals this series as for once it’s not their bullpen losing the game for the club, but in fact it’s their starting pitching that has been the cause for failure. It’s hard to say there’s a bright side to dropping the first two games of a series, but for the Nats it would have to be that their bullpen pitched 10 innings in two games with allowing no earned runs.
Despite a late inning surge, the Washington Nationals couldn’t come back on the Phillies bullpen, falling 4-5 in the opener.
Ross Detwiler suffered his first set back Friday, pitching only four innings while allowing ten hits, five earned runs, and only recording two strikeouts. Whether this is just a road bump on the way to being a top shelf starter or a sign that the 23 year old needs to go back down for more seasoning isn’t clear. Like we have seen with Jordan Zimmermann Detwiler will have innings where he appears unhittable and then he will have innings where he can’t find an out.
The bottom line for both is they need to cut down on mistakes. A missed spot on a fastball here, and a hanging change up there wont get you into much trouble in the minors but in the big leagues it will lead to a gapper there, and a homer here. Personally I think learning under fire is good for these two young starters, as long as they keep their confidence. We’ve seen it successful before in Florida when they won the world series with that young pitching staff, but we’ve also seen it fail with pitchers like Jeremy Bonderman who never put it together.
The bats were pretty quiet in this game. The Nats combined for only six hits and four walks. The one bright spot was Josh Willingham who went two for two with a solo homer in the second inning to give the club an early lead. It wasn’t enough for the Nats however.
Shairon Martis makes his living on the plate pitching dangerously but effectively. Unfortunately, Ryan Howard loves pitches over the plate.
The Phillies slugger went 2-5, including two bombs off Martis that still may not have come down. The first homer was a solid blow against the Nationals will who had taken a 3-0 lead in the previous top half of the inning, a promising lead for a team that desperately needed a win. The second homer however, a grand slam, completely took all the wind out of the Nationals sails as it gave the club a 6-3 lead that they would never look back on.
When the Phillies weren’t smacking the ball around the park, they were running ramped on the base paths. Philly stole five bases off Wil Nieves with no one caught. This is the last thing the Nationals need, another way for opposing clubs to take advantage of our problem with making outs.