Saturday, Roy Oswalt started the game and pitched out of his mind. Oswalt threw eight shutout innings and struck out nine as the Phillies offense woke up and won 5-0. Timely hitting and a Hunter Pence solo homerun put the Phillies up five and they never looked back. Michael Stutes came in for the ninth and shut the door on the Nationals.
Roy Halladay, who has won his last ten starts vs. the Nationals, got the call for the Phillies. Behind the plate, umpire Jerry Meals would quickly take over the game. Remember this guy? Yeah, same guy behind the plate. After squeezing Doc in the first inning, the Nationals got two quick runs. Not to be out done, Carlos Ruiz hit a two run homerun in the top of the second to tie the game at two. To be fair, Jerry Meals was hearing it from both dugouts as both teams found faults with his calls. In the top of the third Chase Utley hit a solo homerun to put the Phillies up by one at 3-2. Halladay was coasting through five innings until the rains came. The third rain delay this week (also the shortest) lasted only a hour and 11 minutes. That was long enough to knock Doc out of the game. The Phillies called upon rookie Michael Schwimer took be the bridge to the bullpen. Well, that bridge last two pitches. Schwimer’s second Major League pitch resulted in a bomb by Danny Espinosa that landed deep in right centerfield for his eighteenth homerun and a 3-3 game.
Twice this weekend the Phillies got kicked in the gut when it seemed like they were going to come away victorious. The Braves swept the Diamondbacks to cut the division lead to 6.5 games.
Jimmy Rollins left yesterday’s game in the third inning with a groin strain and was listed as day to day. After today’s MRI, Rollins has been diagnosed with a grade 2 groin strain as is headed to the disabled list per Rollins. Rollins won’t be back until September.
The Phillies fans helped the Washington Nationals set an attendance record at National’s Park this weekend.
Friday- 37,841 fans
Saturday- 44,685 fans
Sunday- 41,727 fans
Not too bad. Unfortunately the Phillies only came away victorious once this weekend which leads to a long ride back up I-95 to Philadelphia.
However, what struck me funny was the sudden rise of Nationals “fans” trying to put it in the face of the Phillies fans. The Nationals fans, this weekend, have a right to say “take that” to Phillies fans because the Phillies did blow two ninth inning leads. But, a little advice, choose your words wisely. Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell writes “Phillies fans had to close their mouths, fall silent, and ultimately go home losers.” Um, I disagree. The Phillies might have lost Sunday, but the fans do not go home losers. The Phillies have won nearly 65% of their games this year. They are the only team in all of baseball to have broken the 80 win mark, guarantee a non-losing season, and not even lose 45 games this season (The Nationals lost their 45th game way back on July 8th). The Phillies lead the season series with the Nationals 8-6 and are, get this, 20 games ahead of the Nationals to this point. So, despite losing on Sunday, the Phillies fans do not go home losers because, when they wake up on Monday, they are still contenders.
The Phillies send Cliff Lee (13-7, 2.82 ERA) to the mound to face off against Mets starter Dillon Gee (11-4, 3.92 ERA). The Mets were swept this weekend by the Brewers and are losers of eight of their last ten. The Phillies are coming off their first road series defeat since Father’s Day weekend in Seattle but have won six of ten and hold a 6 ½ game lead over the Braves in the NL East. First pitch slated for 7:05pm in South Philadelphia.