The Phillies lost their second game of the season in far different fashion than they lost their first. It didn’t make it any less frustrating.
After a bullpen collapse led to their downfall on opening day, it was an unexpected inability to score runs that got the Phils last night. Cole Hamels gave them eight strong innings, allowing a single run on a ball that just got out for an opposite field home run in the sixth. Nationals’ starter Tim Redding was even better, though. Redding and two Nats relievers combined to throw a one-hit shutout.
If the opening day loss magnified an issue we already knew was a huge problem for the Phillies, the bullpen, it’s a little harder to know what to make of last night’s disappointing outcome. The Phils simply didn’t hit at all and if you don’t hit at all Cole Hamels can’t help you. It’s hard to ignore the pressure on the Phils to avoid yet another miserable April and wonder if the team is pressing in a way that’s not helping them. It’s also hard to ignore the similarities to the start of the 2007 season. Last year Hamels also got the start in the second game of the year, also pitched brilliantly, going seven shutout innings in which he allowed four singles and a walk while striking out eight, and again came out without a win. The Braves beat the Phils that day 3-2 and the Phils were just as 0-2 as they are right now.
The Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals last night, falling 1-0 to drop to 0-2 on the season.
Cole Hamels got the start for the Phils and was fantastic on a chilly night where it looked like he was having trouble gripping the ball. He went eight innings, allowing a run on five hits and two walks. Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out six.
Christian Guzman led off the first with a single into left. Lastings Milledge was next and Hamels walked him in four pitches. Ryan Zimmerman followed and swung at the first pitch and flew to Burrell in deep left for the first out. Nick Johnson was next and he grounded to first. Howard threw to second to force Milledge for the second out. Johnson was safe at first and Guzman moved to third. Austin Kearns was next, a big righty with good numbers against Hamels, and Hamels walked him to load the bases with two down. LoDuca got behind 0-1 and grounded hard but right at Howard to end the frame. Nice job to get out of by Hamels. Zimmerman helped him by swinging at the first pitch after he walked Milledge on four pitches, but he almost hit it out.
The pitcher Tim Redding singled two center with two outs in the second, but Guzman swung at the first pitch and hit it out in front of the plate. Ruiz threw him out to end the frame.
Hamels threw a 1-2-3 third, despite balls hit hard in the air by Milledge and Zimmerman before he struck out Johnson for the third out.
He got two popups and a fly ball to right in the fourth.
Guzman singled into left with two outs in the fifth. Hamels got Milledge swinging at a 2-2 pitch for the third out.
Hamels got ahead of Zimmerman 0-2 to start the sixth before Zimmerman hit a 1-2 pitch out just down the line in right field to put the Nats up 1-0. Johnson lined to second for the first out and Kearns followed with a ball slowly hit to third. Feliz made a nice play, charging and throwing Johnson out for the second out. LoDuca grounded hard to third to set the Nats down. Stellar defense from Feliz in the first two games. If only he could hit.
Hamels got the first two in the seventh before Redding, who had a one-hitter through six innings at the time, hit for himself having thrown 75 pitches. Hamels struck him out for the third out.
Hamels started the eighth having thrown 88 pitches and quickly fell behind Guzman 3-0 before Guzman dribbled a 3-2 pitch back to Hamels. Hamels tossed lightly to Howard, who didn’t catch the ball, but recovered in time to get Guzman who had not run hard. Milledge flew to left for the second out. Zimmerman followed and lined a single just over Rollins’ glove for a single. Johnson was next and hit a soft ground ball just to the right of second that went off the heel of Utley’s glove for an error. Kearns popped to short to end the frame.
Chad Durbin started the ninth with the Phils down 1-0 and two righties due to start the inning for the Nats. Durbin got LoDuca to ground to third and Feliz made a long strong throw look easy for the first out. He struck out Belliard with a 2-2 breaking ball and, with Romero presumably ready in the pen, stayed in to pitch to the lefty Harris. Harris lined a single into right. Luis Ayala was due to hit next and switch-hitter Dmitri Young hit for him. Romero came in to pitch to him and got him to ground back to the mound for the third out.
Two games, two nice outings for Durbin. Ditto for Romero. Despite Romero’s nearly unbelievable 2007 with the Phils, the jury is still out on both of those guys and so far they’ve been really good. Neither of them threw more than ten pitches last night, so presumably they are both available this afternoon.
The Phils also got poor defensive play from their middle infield again. After Rollins had a bad day with the glove on opening day, Hamels had to pitch around Utley’s blunder in the eighth last night.
The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Redding went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Jenkins starts in right against the righty. Feliz hits seventh after hitting sixth on opening day against the lefty Chico. I like Feliz seventh a lot better than sixth. We’ll have to wait and see what Manuel does — the issue in this case is complicated because Jenkins came into the game with fantastic career numbers against Redding. The bad news would be if Manuel thought Feliz was a good hitter, or better hitter than Werth, against lefties.
With two outs in the first, Utley got behind 1-2 but came back to work a walk. Howard flew to left to end the inning.
Feliz singled into center with two outs in the second for his first hit as a Phillie, but Ruiz grounded back to the pitcher for the third out.
With one out in the third, Rollins hit a ball hard back up the middle that bounced once and then hit Redding in the back. The ball bounced to Zimmerman, who threw to first in time to get Rollins for the second out. Redding stayed in the game and got Victorino on a dribbler back to the pitcher for the third out.
The fourth inning looked promising with Utley and Howard due to hit against the righty Redding. Utley got ahead in the count 3-0, but Redding got him to foul out to Zimmerman on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Redding struck out Howard and got Burrell on a fly ball to right to end the inning.
Redding got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 fifth.
He struck out Hamels to start the sixth. Hamels hit for himself to start the inning down 1-0 and having thrown 78 pitches. That’s a no-brainer given how well he had been throwing and how terrible the pen is. Rollins and Victorino both flew out behind him.
Utley started the seventh with a line drive to right, but Kearns took it for the first out. Howard followed and walked on a 3-2 pitch nowhere near the strike zone. Burrell got ahead 2-0 and hit a tracer down to third that Zimmerman stopped, trapped against the ground and threw to second to start a double-play that ended the inning. Burrell hit it hard but right at the wrong somebody.
Jenkins started the eighth with a walk and that was it for Redding. Righty Luis Ayala came in to pitch to Feliz. Feliz broke his bat hitting a slow roller to third. Zimmerman threw Jenkins out at second for the first out but the Nats had no chance to double-up Feliz given how slowly the ball was hit. Ruiz was next and hit a chopper to third. Not a tough play but the ball went off the glove of Zimmerman and went right to Guzman, who tossed to second to force Feliz. Dobbs hit for Hamels and grounded to second to end the inning. Jenkins is a slow, weak defensive corner outfielder much in the same mold as Burrell. Nice to see Manuel not use Taguchi pinch-run for him after Jenkins walked to start the inning with the Phils down a run.
Jon Rauch came in for the Nats to try to nail down the save and a 1-0 win. Rollins got ahead 3-1 before hitting a ball hard down the first base line that Johnson made a nice play on for the first out. Victorino flew to left. Utley hit it hard to short, but Guzman made the play and threw Utley out to end the game.
One single and three walks for the Phils. The seventh was the inning where they really looked like they had something. They hit the ball hard twice and got a one out walk. But Utley’s line drive was tracked down by Kearns and Zimmerman turned Burrell’s smash into a double-play.
Rollins was 0-for-4.
Victorino was 0-for-4 and is still looking for his first hit of the year.
Utley was 0-for-3 with a walk.
Howard was 0-for-2 with a walk.
Burrell was 0-for-3.
Jenkins 0-for-2 with a walk.
Feliz was 1-for-3 with a single.
Ruiz was 0-for-3.
This article suggests that after the game some fans threw stuff on the field and that Geoff Jenkins was the only Phil who played in the game that spoke to the media. No part about any of that that’s good.
Wes Helms was designated for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster for Rudy Seanez.
Brad Lidge can be activated from the DL on Saturday.
Starts made by Cole Hamels appear in light green in the Start Log.
Jamie Moyer faces righty Jason Bergmann this afternoon. Bergmann was 6-6 with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.22 ratio in 21 starts last season. Righties couldn’t do much against him in ’07, hitting 200/261/314 while lefties had more success, posting a 263/343/545 line. He tailed off a lot after the All-Star break last season. After throwing to a 3.47 ERA with a 1.11 ratio before the All-Star break last season he posted a 5.60 ERA with a 1.36 ratio in his 11 starts after the break. The Phils saw him a ton last year. Bergmann made five starts against them, going 0-1 with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.10 ratio. He started against them April 18, April 24, July 24, September 20 and faced Moyer in the last game of the regular season on September 30. There are several Phils with ugly career numbers against Bergmann. Rollins 3-for-15, Utley 2-for-13, Victorino 3-for-16. Howard is just 2-for-9 but with six walks and a .533 on-base percentage against the righty. Moyer made three starts against the Nats last and went 2-0 with a 2.33 and a 1.14 ratio.