It was an historic night at the ballpark last night but it had little to do with the marathon like game that was taking place. As the news of the death of bin Laden spread throughout the sellout crowd, the USA chants grew louder and louder. It was neat to see two fan bases unite,if only for a brief moment, at that point we were all just American’s. In the end, the game didn’t end the way that most fans would have liked. The Phillies bats were nearly nonexistent all night as they were only able to able to get 7 hits in the long 14 innings. You could just see the exhaustion on the faces of the passionate and dedicated few who stayed until after 1:00 AM to watch their Phightin’s.
Read more about last night’s game
Despite dropping the final game of the series, the Phillies were still able to take 2 of the 3 games and win yet another series. The Phillies are now a National League best 18-9 and are .5 ahead of those pesky Florida Marlins. Tomorrow night the Phillies will welcome back a familiar face, former Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth and the Washington Nationals will come to Philadelphia for a 3 games series. The Nationals are having a very good year in their standards; they are currently 14-14 and are in 3rd place in the NL East. Washington is coming off of a series win against the defending World Champion Giants behind solid pitching. They only allowed 4 total runs in the 4 games on route to taking 3 of 4. But they got bad news over the weekend as they learned that their 3rd baseman and best player Ryan Zimmerman will miss an additional 6 weeks with abdomen surgery.
Phillies Raul Ibanez
Ibanez is in the middle of the 6th worst hitless streak in the modern history of the franchise. After going 0-2 yesterday, he is now 0-34! His batting average has dipped to .154, which is an average a pitcher might be upset about. You don’t have to be a baseball expert or a math major to know he is struggling. It wasn’t more evident as last night when he whiffed on a 81 MPH fastball right down the middle is his last at bat. Ibanez is a great guy and I am really rooting for him, but I have serious doubt that he can still hit at the major league level. The Phillies lineup really struggled to score runs over the last 2 games of the series and a early season 09 version of Ibanez would help tremendously right now! Sadly we will never see that player again but hopefully he can regain some of it to a respectable level. It looks like the Nationals will start right-handers in the 1st two games of the series, so Raul will most likely get the start in both of those games. Mayberry has played well in his limited action and may have earned a straight platoon. Oh and watch out Raul, Dom is now at Lehigh.
Nationals Jayson Werth
It will be interesting to see what type of reception he will get when he returns back to the Bank tomorrow night. Based on the reaction he got in Washington from Phillies fans, I think it will be mainly boos. The Nationals were able to take 1 of the 3 games the teams played earlier in the season and it was largely due to the play of Werth. In that game he went 2-3 with a HR in a 7-4 Nationals victory. His transition to the Nationals has not gone as smooth as he would have liked. He was able to raise his average to .242 with a 3-4 performance yesterday. The 126 million dollar man has just 7 RBI’s through 26 games. His struggles with RISP have continued, as he is just 4-21 (.190) in those situations. He will enter the game hitting .303 with 4 homeruns in just 10 games against his former team. Werth has only faced one of the Phillies probable starters; he is 1-5 in his career against Halladay.
Tuesday May 3 7:05: LHP Cole Hamels vs. RHP Livan Hernandez
Cole is coming off of a solid start last Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, where the Phillies were able to salvage one game of the series. He got the win as he went 7 innings only giving up 3 runs despite giving up just 4 hits. Hamels has been great since his first start of the year and has improved his record to 3-1 in his fist 5 starts. He has lowered his ERA from 20.25 after his first start to just 3.13. King Cole has had a lot of success against the Nats during his career. He has made 18 starts versus Washington and is 9-3 with a 2.73 ERA. Current Nationals hitters are a combined 17-61 (.278) against Hamels during their careers.
It seems as though Hernandez has been in the majors for decades but he is only 36. The seemingly ageless right hander is 3-2 with a 3.23 ERA so far this season. He dazzled the Phillies earlier this year as he went 6.2 innings while earning the win. Livan allowed just 1 run while scattering 7 hits and seemed to keep the Phillies off balance all game long. He will make his 29th start against the Phillies tomorrow night and has pitched well against them. He is 12-10 with a respectable 3.52 ERA in those starts. You could say that he is a right handed Jamie Moyer with a little bit more velocity. He is the kind of pitcher that the Phillies have struggled against over the last few years. If he has his pin point control and gets the corners, he can be very hard to beat. But if the Phillies are able to stay patient and make him bring the ball over the plate, they should be able to have some success against him.
Wednesday May 4 7:05: RHP Vance Worley vs. RHP Jason Marquis
The 23 year old righty was able to limit the Mets to just 2 hits and no runs in 6 innings on Friday night. Worley doesn’t have the velocity or pitches that will dazzle you but he was able to have great control while keeping his fastball around or a little above 90 MPH. He doesn’t have the pitches or track record to think he will be a top of the rotation pitcher, but his numbers in the majors seems to contradict that. Vance has now pitched 19 innings in the majors and has allowed just 2 runs. That is good enough for a 0.95 ERA. He earned a win against Washington in his only appearance against them; he pitched one inning in relief and gave up just one hit and no runs. Current Nationals are just 1-4 (.250) against the young pitcher in their careers.
Marquis is coming off of a complete game shutout of the San Francisco Giants. He only allowed 5 hits and no walks while striking out 7. The veteran righty has quietly had a very good start to the season. Through 5 starts, he is 3-0 with a 2.62 ERA. But the Phillies have had his number so far during his career. In 17 starts (24 games) against the Phillies, he is just 5-7 with a 5.34 ERA. Like many pitchers, Citizens Bank Park has been a nightmare for Marquis. In 6 starts, he is 1-4 with a monstrous 7.88 ERA. In his last start at the Bank, he didn’t make it out of the 1st inning. He gave up 6 runs on 6 hits while recording just one out!
Thursday May 5 7:05: RHP Roy Halladay vs. LHP John Lannan
I consider myself lucky to witness the clinic Doc put on through the 1st 3 innings of Saturdays start against the Mets. After it was all said and done, Halladay had yet another complete game victory. He went the distance only allowing 1 run on 7 hits. He has quietly had a very good start to the season; he is now 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA through 6 starts. Like most of the National League East, Roy pretty much owns a share of Nationals. Doc has made 12 starts against the Nats during his career and is 9-1 with a 1.96 ERA against them. Current Nationals hitters are just 18-111 (.162) against Doc.
Like most of the Nationals staff, Lannan is coming off of a solid outing in his last start. Against the Giants, he went 6.2 innings allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits. But the bad news for Lannan is he has struggled against the Phillies during his career. In 12 starts he is 0-9 with a 5.80 ERA. His numbers are slightly worse at the Bank, in 4 starts he is 0-3 with a 6.05 ERA. Lannan received the loss in his start earlier in the season against the Phillies but he pitched well. He went 6 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 6 hits.
The Phillies enter the series after taking another series against their division rivals, while the Nats were impressive as well as they took 3 of 4 games against the Giants. It could be a tricky series for the Phillies as the Nationals will send 3 veteran pitchers to the hill. They are pitchers who the Phillies should be able to hit but they have been shut down by those types of pitchers before this season. My prediction for the series is a 3 game SWEEP! I think the Phillies bats will catch fire in a few games and the Phillies pitchers should shutdown a solid Nationals lineup.