Man, that was a tough loss, especially in front of all those Nats fans. But I can’t say I wasn’t surprised. Twice the Phils left the bases loaded (in the 8th and 11th) and Chase Utley and Bobby Abreu were 0-10 combined; not to mention Rollins and Lofton’s 2-10 night. That was disgraceful. So was Todd Pratt’s lazy passed ball that let the winning run advance to second. And just as I feared, the Nats John Patterson pretty much shut down the Phils lineup recording 8 strikeouts. His fastball topped out around 90-92 but seemed to confound the Phils’ bats.
On the somewhat positive side, the Phils continue to live and die by the long ball. Burrell teed off in the second and Ryan Howard sparked a 9th inning rally which was capped off by another David Bell dinger. I had a feeling Howard would finally catch up to one tonight, he was swinging the bat well. One fella who wasn’t was Shane Victorino who came to the plate in the 9th for his first big league at bat. After fouling a few off he finally wiffed on strike 3. He actually entered the game an inning prior to pinch run for Pat Burrell, which after the lineup turned over twice didn’t seem quite as good an idea.
But the Phils did mount a comeback in the ninth with which I was very impressed. I didn’t think they had it in them; but this late in the season, wins are the only thing that count. Fortunately, our boys are still a half a game up in the Wild Card. Tomorrow they have a chance to take the series behind Annapolis-native Gavin Floyd (Severna Park to be precise). After a game like tonight’s he needs to be effective and last at least 6 innings for the club. The bullpen is taxed enough as it is and looking ahead to Houston the Fightins will need every advantage they can get.