Roy Halladay was fantastic in game two of the series with the Nationals, but Cliff Lee was even better last night as they Phils took game three. Lee gave the Phils their second complete game in two days, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out 12. He needed only 99 pitches.
The brilliant work of Halladay and Lee ensured that the Phils wouldn’t need a lot of offense to win the series. They didn’t get it, either. They scored seven runs in the last two games with the help of four errors by a Washington team that was wretched defensively. Only three of the runs they scored in the last two games were earned. Howard, Francisco and Ibanez combined to go an ugly 3-for-33 in the three-game set. On the plus side, Valdez, Ruiz and Polanco all have had a terrific start to the season and continued to hit. Victorino has started the year strong, too, but cooled a bit in Washington as he went 2-for-12 in the series.
The Phils are 9-3 after being the Washington Nationals 4-0 last night. They take the series two games to one and have won every series they’ve played so far this year.
Lee started for the Phils and threw a complete game shutout, allowing three hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out 12.
He set down the first six Nats he faced. In the first he struck Ian Desmond out for the first out, got Rick Ankiel to ground to second and struck Jayson Werth out swinging.
In the second, Adam LaRoche flew to center, Wilson Ramos struck out looking and Michael Morse grounded to second.
Danny Espinosa started the third with a double off the wall in right. Jerry Hairston moved Espinosa to third with a fly ball to center for the first out and the Phillies brought the infield in as Washington sent pitcher Jordan Zimmerman to the plate. Zimmerman chopped a ground ball to short. Rollins fielded and threw home, where Ruiz tagged Espinosa out for the second out. Lee struck Desmond out looking to leave Zimmerman at first.
Unusual for the Phils to bring the infield in so early in a game. Worked out well.
Lee threw a 1-2-3 fourth.
Ramos led off the fifth with a single lined into left. Ruiz threw him out trying to steal second as Morse struck out swinging. It cleared the bases for Espinosa and Lee got him to pop to short to set Washington down.
The Phillies had a 2-0 lead when Lee started the sixth. He got Hairston on a fly ball to center and struck out Zimmerman and Desmond.
In the seventh he used 11 pitches to strike out Washington’s 2-3-4 hitters. Ankiel swinging, Werth swinging, LaRoche swinging. Lee threw two balls in the inning.
Lee had a 4-0 lead when he walked Ramos to start Washington’s eighth. He struck out Morse and Espinosa behind him and then got Hairston to pop to third.
Jesus Flores hit for pitcher Brian Broderick to start the ninth and blooped a single over the head of Valdez and into right. Desmond flew to right for the first out. Ankiel was next and hit it hard, but Victorino took it in front of the track. Werth quickly got behind 0-2 and hit a ground ball to short. Rollins went to second to end the game.
The Phillies lineup against righty Jordan Zimmerman went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Nothing new there. Howard stays in the lineup after getting hit on the wrist by Lannan in game two, playing with a guard on his wrist.
Zimmerman was perfect through five innings. Valdez hit a ball well in the third, but Werth handled it in right. Rollins smoked a ball in the fourth, but LaRoche snagged the line drive to retire him. Francisco lined to right for the second out of the fifth.
Ruiz led off the sixth inning of a scoreless game. Zimmerman had struck out four and not allowed a base-runner. Ruiz blasted an 0-1 breaking ball to left. It looked at first like the ball went off the top of the wall, but, after some brief confusion, it was decided it cleared it for a home run that put the Phils up 1-0. Valdez and Lee went down behind him before Victorino lined a double to left. Polanco was next and hit a ground ball to third. Hairston back-handed moving towards the line and then made a ridiculous throw that wasn’t real near first base for an error. Victorino scored (2-0) and Polanco took second. Rollins flew to left for the third out.
Terrible, terrible defense by the Nationals infield in the series.
The Phillies went in order in the seventh.
Ruiz and Valdez started the eighth with back-to-back singles before Lee hit a ball to Espinosa that Espinosa didn’t handle for another error on a Washington infielder. Righty Drew Storen came in to pitch to Victorino with the bases loaded and struck him out for the first out. Polanco followed that with a ground ball to second. Lee was forced at second, but everyone else moved up a base and Ruiz scored to put the Phils up 3-0. It brought Rollins to the plate with men on first and third and he lined a single to right, scoring Valdez (4-0) and sending Polanco to second. Lefty Doug Slaten came in and struck Howard out to leave them stranded.
Rollins comes through with two outs. Victorino strikes out with the bases loaded and nobody out.
The Phillies went in order in the ninth. Ibanez hit a ball well down the first base line, but LaRoche made a very nice play to take extra-bases away from him for the second out.
Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double in the game and a big strikeout in the eighth. 2-for-12 with two doubles and a walk in the series. He’s hitting 354/380/542 on the year.
Polanco 1-for-4 with an RBI. 5-for-12 in the series with a walk and three RBI. 360/407/440. He’s on pace to hit .360 with 54 doubles and 148 RBI.
Rollins 1-for-4 with an RBI. 4-for-13 with four singles and an RBI in the series. He just has one RBI for the year, which puts him on pace to drive in 15 for the season. 320/370/380. Thirteen of his 16 hits have been singles, the other three are doubles.
Howard 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 1-for-10 with a walk and a home run in the series. He’s on pace to drive in 175 runs. 304/358/587 so far.
Francisco 0-for-4. 1-for-11 with a walk in the series. He’s 2-for-his-last-19 and hitting 255/327/426 on the year. 176/263/294 since the end of the three-game series with Houston to start the season (he was 6-for-13 with a double, a walk and a home run in that series).
Ibanez 0-for-4, but robbed of a double down the first base line in the ninth. 1-for-12 with a single and five strikeouts in the series. 213/288/319 on the season. He’s 4-for-his-last-27.
Ruiz 2-for-4 with his second home run on the year. 4-for-11 with a walk and a home run in the series. 351/415/568 for the year.
Valdez 1-for-3 to drop his average to .351. 4-for-10 with a walk in the set. 351/385/432 so far.
Among the regulars, Ruiz, Polanco, Valdez, Victorino and Rollins are all on-basing .370 or better. Howard .358, Francisco .327 and Ibanez .288.
Howard, Ruiz and Victorino are all slugging way above .500. Ibanez, Rollins and Ibanez and both slugging under .400. The .380 slugging percentage for Rollins is a bit more surprising than the .319 for Ibanez, given that Rollins is hitting .320.
Valdez, Ruiz, Victorino and Polanco are all hitting at least .351.
Roy Oswalt (2-0, 2.25) faces righty Javier Vazquez (1-1, 8.64) tonight as the Phils face the Fish in Philadelphia. Vazquez got hammered by the Mets in his first start and allowed four runs to the Astros over six innings in his second. Oswalt has gone six solid innings in each of his first two starts.
Interesting post here that goes into the decision by Manuel to use Mayberry instead of Gload against the righty Livan Hernandez in game one. Points out that there was no lefty ready to pitch to Gload, so Gload probably would have gotten to hit against the righty Hernandez. Long quote from Manuel that basically just says he liked Mayberry’s chances better. If it’s true there was no chance the Nats could have had Slaten or another lefty ready to pitch to Gload, that’s just a bad decision. If a lefty could have come in, I still like Gload’s chances against a lefty better (or you could have hit Mayberry for Gload if you wanted to burn them both).