When Cole Hamels was scratched from Sunday's series finale it seemed as if any hope for a series win had been scratched as well. Instead the Phillies sent 33-year old righty Roberto (Bobby, Bob, Robert, or Fausto) Hernandez to the hill on a blustery day at the Bank. Opposing the Nats lefty Gio Gonzalez, it was Bobby who outshined for the win throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings. After a tough 1st Hernandez cruised, at one point retiring 10 straight Washington batters, and 15 of 17. It was an "as important as they can be in May" series win for the Phillies.
With the Braves 6-game skid the Nats had hoped to take over first place with easy work of a 5th starter. The pitching "duel" seemed too good to be true. Nats Gio Gonzalez shined, allowing only 1 run off 4 hits through 7 1/3 innings. The lone run, driven in by Chase "The Man" Utley, was all the Phillies needed. Hernandez (7 1/3, 4 hits), Adams & Bastardo (1/3 each), and of course Pap in the 9th, pitched a shutout for the Phils.
Despite two triples, one by Jimmy and the other by Rev, the highlight of the game may have been the Phanatic's mom falling off the back of his four wheeler! And the hurricane-like winds that made South Philly feel like the Windy City.
Currently the National League East is as jam packed as a Wawa giving out free coffee. The last place Fish sit at 16-15, a slightly lower winning percentage than the Phillies at 15-14. Both teams only 1.5 games behind the 1st place Braves who currently own a 6-game losing streak. For a Phillies team that some baseball scouts labeled "hard to watch" in Spring Training they are doing exactly what I expected this team to do through the early stages of the season, hanging around.
With one of the best top 3 rotations in baseball and an offense currently with the 3rd best team BA in the National League the Phillies are doing enough to remain in the hunt. But hey it's only May.
The recently dominate Jonathan Papelbon came in for the 9th and recorded his 9th consecutive save and extended his scoreless streak to 11 innings. With 9 saves, Pap is tied for 4th among all MLB closers.
The Phillies, who have won 3 of their last 4 series, begin a 4-game home and away with the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Kyle Kendrick will take the hill for the Phils.