Victory! The Phils grabbed their first win of the 2008 season in a topsy-turby affair with the Nationals. It ended with a Jayson Werth walk but began terribly.
Jamie Moyer couldn’t get through four innings as he surrendered six runs. Only three were earned, as the infield defense performed poorly. Errors by Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz and Moyer himself stained the box score and hurt the Phils, especially in the long first inning, where Moyer allowed five runs.
The Phils stormed back with a six-run sixth inning, all by singles (sans a hit by pitch). And while the bullpen almost blew it (Ryan Madson was responsible for a run and Tom Gordon had the bases loaded in the ninth), they hung on enough for Werth to walk with the bases juiced.
The Phillies clearly did enough to lose this game. The defense was plain bad, they left runners in scoring position in big spots and Charlie Manuel almost managed himself out of options (Carlos Ruiz was the last batter available, used in the ninth; only Tim Lahey sat in the bullpen). Still, they took advantage of the young Nationals, finally showed some chops and pulled a wacky one together.
I have to say, the sixth inning could be the eye opener this team needed. The hits by Utley and Howard were both right to Ronnie Belliard, but he couldn’t make the plays. Last night, he makes the plays. Then the offense opened up and hit a tiring Jason Bergmann and a Washington bullpen they’d seen a lot of this week.
It’s just the win the doctor ordered. Sure, Moyer was ineffective, but he won’t be this bad all year. And sure, Madson wasn’t completely perfect and Gordon almost lost the game (he needs to be pitching very little, and very early in games), but the offense woke up and despite doing everything possible to lose, perseverance paid off. Now the team heads to Cincinnati â€” away from the pressures of pleasing the Citizens Bank Park faithful â€” where the offense can continue opening up. A huge win, for sure.
Also: Another reason Jimmy Rollins is the most important position player on this team â€” his dynamite first-to-third run on Victorino’s sac bunt in the 10th gave the Phils the win.