Behind three solo home runs, including one from Nate Schierholtz, and a gutty pitching performance, the Phillies were able to grind out a 3-2 victory in Washington tonight. The win puts the Phils in position to sweep the first-place Nationals tomorrow with Cole Hamels on the mound. So far, this series has felt like better times.
NO WOES FOR WORLEY
– July was a cruel month for Vance Worley. In his five starts, he went 1-2 with a 6.43 ERA. He had a month to forget, and that’s something that hasn’t happened much to Worley since he became a fixture in the rotation last season. In fact, his July ERA was the highest Worley has posted in any month during his young career. He’s pitching with bone chips in his elbow, and it’s not unreasonable to suggest that is affecting him. He was also likely victimized by a season-high .427 BABIP during the month of July. Tonight, however, neither bone chips nor misfortune affected Worley’s results.
– After some first inning jitters, Worley would settle in nicely and provide the Phils with a solid effort. The final line: 7 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K. Both runs were unearned because of the Kevin Frandsen error and a couple other misplays in the first that led to them. After that inning, Worley was stellar. Perhaps most impressive about his outing is the fact that he recorded no strikeouts. That’s the first time he’s ever done that. I’m betting he wouldn’t have guessed that his first start without a strikeout would last seven innings, and he’d allow no earned runs. With a stagnant offense, Worley’s effort tonight was a big part of the victory.
LET THE GOOD TIMES J-ROLL
– As mentioned above, the Phillies offense didn’t do much tonight. There were two bright spots, though. One of those was the Phillies’ veteran shortstop. After going through a bit of a slump, Jimmy Rollins has come to life in Washington. He followed up his thrilling insider the park home run last night with two traditional bombs tonight, one in the third and one in the fifth. He also just missed homering in the first. He wasn’t just the table setter tonight. He provided 66% of the offense. This team has undergone a pretty substantial change in its makeup, and it’s up to Rollins, as the leader, to help see his teammates through this next chapter. The best way for Rollins to do that is by setting an example with his play on the field. In his first two games since the trades, he’s done a great job of that. He would receive a little help tonight…
SCHIERHOLTZ STARTS WITH A BANG
– Nate Schierholtz introduced himself to his new teammates rather stylishly when he crushed a ball to left to give the Phils the lead in the fifth inning. He also got his first hit as a Phillie with his single to right in the third inning. On the night, Schierholtz went 2-for-4. He also made a few nice catches in the outfield, which was a big breath of fresh air after four months of Hunter Pence.
DOM BROWN MAKES HIS FIRST START
– Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday that Domonic Brown was in his plans for the outfield next season. Over the next two months, Brown will finally get a real chance to play every day. If that goes well–and, perhaps, even if it doesn’t–Brown will be one of the corner outfielders next season. Seeing how Brown responds to this opportunity will easily be one of the most compelling reasons to watch the Phillies over the final two months.
– After singling in a pinch hit appearance last night, Brown went 0-for-4 tonight. He did show off some skill in the field. While Brown’s ability to track down a fly ball left a lot to be desired, he’s always had a canon. In the second inning, he fired a strike to home plate from left field to cut down Edwin Jackson. It was a mistake to send a pitcher in that situation, but, to his credit, Brown delivered a frozen rope to the plate and made sure the Nats paid. The play would be the difference in a one-run ballgame. The Dom Brown era begins, thusly.
LINDBLOM DEBUTS, TOO
– Not wanting to leave anyone out of the new-look Phillies debut, Charlie Manuel opted to bring in newly-acquired right-hander Josh Lindblom to record some outs in the eighth inning. He allowed a single to Ryan Zimmerman, but got a strikeout for the second out. Erik Kratz would throw out Zimmerman stealing second to get the final out of the inning. After an uneventful ninth, the Phillies had a second straight victory.