Monday, April 27, 2009
We still can't believe that loss.
If anyone tells The African Queen again that "It's Joel Hanrahan's Time Now!!"--they better quickly move out of her way.
Because Our Number 38 is no closer--at least not yet.
And who said a mediocre ball club doesn't need a closer?
Well, Our Washington Nationals need one RIGHT NOW!!
Because this stuff is getting way out of hand.
To pitch with the game on the line, you need to be able to handle pressure.
Joel Hanrahan seemingly has not learned that lesson yet.
Someone in our bullpen needs to learn that lesson.
There is no excuse for losing this game tonight to The Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
When you slam out five home runs, twice pull ahead by four runs and you still can't win late--there is something wrong.
And to recall, twice Washington left the bases loaded in the 6th and 8th Innings.
But surely, we were going to win.
Maybe the hardest defeat we have ever watched involving Our Washington Nationals.
Shairon Martis is 22-Years Old and still learning how to be a professional player. HIs poor pitch selections in the bottom of the 5th tonight that allowed The Phillies to tie this game up at six apiece can be chalked up to inexperience and poor execution. Ryan Howard taking advantage of a rookie throwing him the exact low breaking ball The Former NL MVP & Home Run Champion can punish. A Grand Slam that got Philadelphia back in this game for the first time.
The Big Blow that again came back to haunt Washington when Hanrahan relieved a struggling Garrett Mock with two outs in the 8th, Washington still up two, Chase Utley on first base. All we needed was one out. ONE OUT--and Our Number 38 couldn't find the plate. Afraid to pitch to Ryan Howard, Hanrahan walked him. Unable to locate his fastball, Joel walked Jayson Werth to load the bases.
Trying just to aim a first pitch fastball over the plate to Raul Ibanez--found the Lefthanded Philadelphia Slugger slamming that juicy pitch over the rigthtfield wall for the second grand slam of the evening.
A No Doubter.
Game Over--Just Like That.
On the heels of Ryan Zimmerman crushing two home runs this evening. Elijah Dukes sending the longest fly we've ever watched set sail at Citizens Bank Park into Ashburn Alley--The Centerfield Plaza of the South Philly Ballpark for his 3rd Home Run Of The Season. A Titanic Second Deck shot to right off the bat of Nick Johnson (his second homer of 2009) and finally Adam Dunn's 5th Tater--YOU HAVE TO WIN THIS GAME!!
Stunning. Simply Stunning Our Washington Nationals DID NOT.
And it's left us Nearly Speechless.
Final Score from that pinball machine known as Citizens Bank Park--Philly 13 and Washington 11--in demoralizing fashion.
Game Notes & Highlights
10 Hits, 10 Runs, 9 RBI from the top five hitters in our lineup tonight. And believing his bullpen would shut the door, Our Manager Manny Acta rightfully replaced Adam Dunn in the bottom of the 8th with the far better fielding Justin Maxwell now playing left. A move that turned against him when The Phillies rallied to take the lead in their six run 8th and Adam Dunn was sitting on the bench as the final out was recorded--a strikeout by his replacement-- Justin Maxwell.
Amazingly, there were no fielding errors charged tonight, even though Austin Kearns, Adam Dunn and The Phillies Shane Victorino all misplayed fly balls off their gloves.
No one really pitched that well tonight for Washington. Martis got hammered. Julian Tavarez allowed an inherited runner to score. Mike Hinckley looked lost again on the mound, but somehow got out of a jam. Kip Wells did pitch a scoreless 7th, but Mock set the fire that became the 8th inning. And Joel Hanrahan added the fuel which exploded this game.
Our Washington Nationals can't trust their bullpen, and it's taking away most every realistic chance to win.
One of those winnable games--thrown away by pitching, pitching and more poor pitching--again.
Finally, If there is one thing to take from this terrible loss--it is the very fact that since Baseball Returned To Washington in 2005, Our Washington Nationals and The Philadelphia Phillies have played some of the most memorable games between each other than with any other team. Win or Lose--noteworthy stuff. Ball Games that are remembered for years to come. This one certainly fits that billing. No question--The Phillies are truly our rival, both on the field and in the stands--and this 13-11 defeat just added to that mystique.
Tonight's InGame Photo--H.Rumph, Jr. (AP)