A lot went on in last night’s game with the Nats. Jayson Werth made his first appearance as a visitor since hitting 444/583/778 to help the Phils win the 2008 World Series, Jimmy Rollins made his first appearance of the year in the leadoff spot and delivered two hits, drove in a run and scored another and Raul Ibanez finally broke out of his long slump with a pair of doubles. The most exciting part of the night for the Phils, though, was something that didn’t change at all as Cole Hamels mowed down Washington in his fifth good start in a row.
The Phils rode a complete game by Hamels and an impressive showing by their offense, which tallied 12 hits and seven walks, to a 4-1 win in the opener of the three-game set.
Hamels was hit hard by the Mets in his first start of the year — since then he’s made five starts in which he’s thrown to a 1.42 ERA with an 0.84 ratio and struck out 37 in 38 innings. In all five of those starts he’s gone at least seven innings.
The Phillies are 19-9 on the season after beating the Washington Nationals 4-1 last night. The Phillies are now 10-2 on the year in the games started by Hamels or Halladay and 9-7 in the games started by anyone else. That’s despite the fact that they don’t have a losing record in the starts made by any of their six starting pitchers (3-3 in Lee’s starts, 3-2 Oswalt, 2-2 Blanton, 1-0 Worley).
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a solo home run. He struck out six and lowered his ERA on the year to 2.66.
Danny Espinosa led off the game and popped to third. Hamels struck Ian Desmond out looking 2-2 for the second out before Jayson Werth walked on five pitches. Werth stole second before Adam LaRoche struck out swinging for the third out.
Werth got a mixed reaction that was largely boos in his first at-bat, but stepped out and tipped his helmet to the crowd and the boos turned to cheers.
Michael Morse started the second with a single to right. Jerry Hairston flew to left for the first out. Ivan Rodriguez was next and he grounded to third, with Polanco throwing to second to force Morse for the second out. Brian Bixler grounded to short for the third out.
The pitcher Livan Hernandez led off the third and grounded to Hamels for the first out. Hamels got Espinosa swinging for the second out and Desmond on a ground ball to short for the third.
Up 1-0, Hamels set the Nats down in order in the fourth.
He had thrown 51 pitches through four innings and struck out four.
Hairston lined to Rollins for the first out of the fifth before Rodriguez doubled to center. Bixler flew to center and Livan grounded to short to leave Rodriguez at second.
Hamels had a 2-0 lead when Espinosa started the sixth with an infield single. Desmond grounded into a double-play behind him and Werth fouled out to Howard for the third out.
Morse homered to right with one out in the seventh, cutting the lead to 2-1. Hairston was next and hit a ball down the third base line. Polanco made a nice play, fielding behind the bag and making the long throw from foul territory for the second out. Hamels struck Rodriguez out to end the frame.
Very nice play by Polanco on a ball that may have been foul. Second home run that Hamels has allowed on the year and the second in two starts. Chris Young got him his last time out, so both of them have been hit by righties. Right-handed batters are still slugging just .307 against him for the year.
Hamels started the eighth with a 4-1 lead. Bixler led off with a ground ball to short. Rollins stayed back on the ball and Bixler just beat his throw to first for a single. Righty Wilson Ramos hit for the pitcher Doug Slaten and hit a ball back to the mound. Hamels put up his glove and deflected it and the ball went right to Rollins near second. Rollins tagged second and threw to first to complete the double-play. Espinosa grounded to second for the third out.
Bixler’s ball to start the inning was just about routine. Need to get an out there. That’s the second time in two games Rollins looked like he made a bad decision about how to play a not very unusual ground ball — the other was a ball hit by Scott Hairston in the fourth inning of Sunday night’s game. Very fortunate that ball hit by Ramos was deflected right to Rollins at second.
Hamels got Jerry Hairston on a ground ball that Hamels fielded for the first out of the ninth. Werth struck out on a big swing at a 1-2 pitch for the second. LaRoche grounded to second to end the game.
The Phillies lineup against righty Livan Hernandez went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Orr (8) Schneider. Rollins moved from three in the order to the leadoff spot. Hot-hitting Polanco dropped to third. Ibanez plays left against the righty with Mayberry on the bench. Lefties Orr and Schneider start at second and catcher with righties Valdez and Sardinha on the bench.
The Phils went in order in the first and again in the second.
Orr led off the third and popped to the first baseman LaRoche in foul territory. Schneider was next and he ripped a line drive back up the middle, but Hernandez reached up and snared it for the second out. It brought Hamels to the plate and he crashed a ball high off the wall in right for a stand-up triple. Rollins was next and he lined a single into center, scoring Hamels to put the Phils up 1-0. Victorino followed and dumped a less impressive single into center, moving Rollins to second. Rollins and Victorino pulled off a double-steal before Polanco struck out swinging to leave them both stranded.
Apparently if you want Rollins to drive in runs you need to hit him behind Cole Hamels. Who knew?
Howard started the fourth with a single to right. Francisco flew to center for the first out, but Ibanez was next and he finally got a hit, pounding a ball over the head of Hairston in center that landed on the warning track and bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. Hernandez walked Orr intentionally to set up the double-play and he got it. Schneider chopped a ball back to the mound, Hernandez fielded, went home and Rodriguez relayed to first to complete the double-play and turn the Phils away.
Ibanez breaks an 0-for-35 with the double to center. The ball bouncing over the wall costs the Phillies a run, cause Howard would have scored from first.
Rollins lined a triple to right with one out in the fifth. Victorino walked before Polanco flew to right for the second out. Rollins tagged and scored to put the Phils up 2-0. Werth threw home but his throw was offline on the first base side, allowing Victorino to take second. Howard was walked intentionally and Francisco unintentionally and the bases were loaded for Ibanez. Ibanez hit a ball that Werth took in foul territory in the right field corner to leave the bases loaded.
Orr and Schneider singled back-to-back to start the sixth. It put men on first and second for Hamels and he got the bunt down, but the third baseman Bixler fielded and threw to Desmond covering short to force Orr for the first out. Rollins grounded into a double-play to end the inning.
The lead was cut to 2-1 when the Phils hit in the seventh. Victorino led off with a single and moved to second when Polanco went down for the first out on a ball dribbled out in front of the plate. Howard was next and he lined a single into right, scoring Victorino to put the Phils up 3-1. Righty Todd Coffey took over for Hernandez and got Francisco on a line out to short for the second out. It brought Ibanez to the plate with two down and a man on first and the Nats brought lefty Doug Slaten in to pitch to him. Ibanez lofted a fly ball to left-center that stayed in the air a long, long time before dropping about a foot from both Morse and Hairston for a double. Howard scored to put the Phils up 4-1. Mayberry hit for Orr and was walked intentionally, but Schneider grounded to first to leave both men stranded.
Ibanez is certainly due his share of luck, but his ball should have been caught.
Hamels hit for himself having thrown 99 pitches and singled to right off righty Henry Rodriguez to start the eighth. Rollins moved him to second with a walk before Victorino hit a ground ball to first. Rollins was forced at second with Hamels moving to third and Victorino safe at first. The Nats pitched 2-1 with Polanco at the plate, but Victorino wasn’t going. Polanco walked, loading the bases for Howard and Howard hit into a double-play to turn the Phils away.
Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple and an RBI out of the leadoff spot. He has on-based .465 over his last 43 plate appearances but is hitting with little power. He has a .369 slugging percentage to go with his .270 average. That said, the first two parts of the three slash categories are looking good for him right now: 279/370/369 on the season. He got stolen base number six on the season in the game, which puts him on pace to steal 35 for the year.
Victorino was 2-for-4 with a walk hitting out of the two-hole. 346/414/538 over his last 30 plate appearances. He also stole his sixth base of the year.
Polanco went 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI, ending an eleven game hitting streak. Coming into last night’s game he had at least one hit in 18 of the last 19.
Howard was 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.
Francisco 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 1-for-his-last-9.
Ibanez was 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. First extra-base hit for him since April 9. First hit since April 18 and first RBI since April 18. From April 8 through May 1 he hit 103/176/118 — 7-for-68 with a double, six walks and 24 strikeouts.
Orr was 1-for-2 with a walk. Like Rollins, he’s hitting for average and getting on base without power. 278/350/306 in 40 plate appearances on the year.
Schneider was 1-for-4 and left five men on base. He’s 5-for-34 on the season (147/216/353).
Werth was 0-for-3 with a walk in the game to drop his line on the year to 226/322/406. He’s curiously doing nothing with left-handed pitching this year — 103/257/172 so far for the season. I’m pretty sure he can hit lefties.
Vance Worley (1-0, 0.00) faces righty Jason Marquis (3-0, 2.62) tonight in game two. Marquis threw a complete-game shutout in his last start, holding the Giants to five hits and no walks while striking out seven. Worley was very good in his season debut his last time out, throwing six scoreless innings against the Mets.