Washington came out on top in the opener of the set, winning 2-1.
KENDRICK KEEPS PHILS IN IT
-Kyle Kendrick really struggled to throw strikes early, yet kept his team well within striking distance. His best inning was the fifth when he retired the Nationals on just seven pitches.
-Somehow, someway, Kendrick was able to finish seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits. KK struck out four and walked two. His final three innings were much better than the first four, which is what kept him in the game long enough. Overall, not a terrible effort overall.
-To end the game, the Phillies retired the final 17 Nationals that stepped to the plate after Ian Desmond’s RBI single in the fourth and Danny Espinosa’s walk right after.
OFFENSE KEEPS THEM OUT
-No surprise here, the Phillies offense could not completely figure out Gio Gonzalez. In the third, they had the bases loaded and got nothing out of it. In the sixth inning, they had runners at second and third with nobody out and again managed zero runs.
-They just cannot get runners home when they need to. Getting guys on base really isn’t the issue, it’s having them touch home once they’re on. Talk about frustrating. In that sixth, Hunter Pence hit a rocket right at Rick Ankiel. Then, Carlos Ruiz smoked a ball right at Adam LaRoche. The Nats first baseman did this smart thing and easy gunned out Placido Polanco trying to score. John Mayberry flew out for the third out of the frame. Your 2012 Phillies, everyone.
-I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Phils also struggled with the Nats bullpen. Another squandered opportunity in the eighth inning may have been the most frustrating. With two on and one out, Hunter Pence (stop me if you’ve heard this) swung at a first pitch, popping up to third base. Carlos Ruiz then grounded out to end the threat.
-In the ninth, John Mayberry led off with a four pitch walk off a wild Henry Rodriguez. He then moved to second on a one-out wild pitch, and to third on a single by Mike Fontenot. Mayberry made a bit of a blunder by not scoring on a wild pitch, but would touch home after Rodriguez was sent to the showers. Sean Burnett came in and gave up a sac fly to Ty Wigginton. But, the Phillies could not get that tying run home as Hector Luna walked, leading to a lineout by Polanco to end the game.
-With runners in scoring position, the Phillies finished 1-for-10 and left a total of 10 men on base.
GONZALEZ AND HARPER
-In his first at-bat, Bryce Harper was met with a loud chorus of boos. After the fans settled, Harper went 2-for-4 with a couple of singles.
-Gio Gonzalez had a decent night, but that’s mostly because the Phillies could not capitalize. He struck out nine in six inning, but did walk three while allowing three hits. However, it was a goose egg on the scoreboard where it matters most. The former Phillies farm hand lowered his ERA in the process to 1.98. Gonzalez also leads the majors in strikeouts, leaping over Justin Verlander, with 69.
-Raul Valdes pitched two great innings. Getting more from him and Diekman would be huge. They need reliable arms in the pen.
-The weather is supposed to be just as crappy tomorrow. It’ll be another good pitching matchup regardless of the conditions. Jordan Zimmerman faces Roy Halladay. Expect few runs, again.