Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Nats Edge Phillies 1-0

The Phillies wasted an excellent start by Cole Hamels, as they dropped to 0-2 on the young season. Hamels worked his way out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning, but settled down afterward. He made two bad pitches all night, both to Ryan Zimmerman. One was knocked down by the wind in the 1st and the other was carried out by the wind in the 6th. Despite the home run, Hamels pitched brilliantly with only 1 earned run in 8 innings pitched.

Zimmerman's home run gave the Nationals their only run of the game, but it was all they needed, as the Phillies were shut down by Tim Redding and the Nationals defense. Redding went 7 innings and only gave up 1 hit and 3 walks and the bullpen finished the job, with perfect innings from Luis Ayala and Jon Rauch.

But it was the Nationals fielding that saved the game. Zimmerman snared several sharply hit balls and the one he misplayed bounced right into the glove of Christian Guzman for a force out. Nick Johnson halted a potential Phillies rally in the 9th, when he picked up a ball smashed down the first base line by Jimmy Rollins. Rollins would have had at least a double had the ball gotten through and the Phillies would have had a great chance tie the game.

It was that kind of game for the Phillies. They didn't hit many balls hard, and when they did it was right at a fielder. It was frustrating to say the least, but with the high-powered offense that they possess, these games should be few and far between.


Anonymous said...

This is why having an ace is so important to a team. Having Hamels every five days will give the team a little comfort. If another pitcher could step up and be be solid most of the time, that'd be extremely helpful and save the bullpen a lot of grief. Using both Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero for the one inning was kind of strange, especially given the hope that the offense could muster a single run in the bottom of the inning. It's odd because the best long reliever is out of commission for a game that could go on however long. At least it seems like we can trust Durbin.

Brian Raab said...

I agree that using Durbin and Romero in the same inning was a bit odd, but Romero was brought in to face Dmitri Young, who is a switch hitter, but a little more dangerous from the left side than the right. The rationale was that A) they needed to get him out, and B) Romero could've pitched the 10th as well since the pitcher had just batted in the 8th inning. At least Romero effectively got the night off, as he only threw one pitch.

Anonymous said...

I figured it had to do with the matchup, though if you'll be taking him out two batters later, why use Durbin?

Brian Raab said...

Yeah, good point. It seems the logical move would've been to use a right-handed one-inning guy (maybe Gordon) or to use Romero for the whole inning, but it seems preferable to at least try to give Romero the day off or a light workload. This was a situation where it didn't make a difference, but the Phillies could have been in a lot of trouble had the game gone to extra innings.