Sep 29, 2010, 7:38 AM EST
With another division title in the bag, the Phillies sent Roy Oswalt out to get some work in, mmmaybe even get that one win to tip his record over .500. His run with the Phillies has been nothing short of amazing, notching a 7-1 record after coming to Philadelphia with a 6-12 mark. After losing his first start as a Phillie right after getting off the plane, Oswalt has seen his ERA fall from 3.53 to 2.73, not allowing more than four earned runs in any start, as well as ZERO earned runs in five of his 12 appearances as a Phillie, including in 5 IP/67 pitches last night.
The Nationals managed only three hits off of Phillies pitching on Tuesday, but still won by a 2-1 count.
Maybe it was a hangover game (no, not literally) after a long night in the Champagne Room (yes, literally, just not in the usual sense). Several Phils regulars got a night off, and the lineup failed to convert on a few opportunities (1-7 w/ RISP), but there was nothing to be too alarmed about. Raul Ibanez got them on the board with a fourth inning solo shot, and Ryan Howard notched a pair of hits, as did Benny Fresh. In all, the Phils managed just one run on nine hits. Howard was robbed of a would-be RBI when Nats 2B Danny Espinosa showed some amazing range to track a ball hit up the middle, then athleticism in his ability to turn and gun it back to first for their third out of the fifth inning.
Danys Baez, David Herndon, JC Romero, and Antonio Bastardo each pitched well in relief of Oswalt, striking out six batters (with five coming in a row, including three straight by Bastardo) and not allowing any damage. Jose Contreras faced one batter in ninth inning, Adam Dunn, who ended it with a walkoff that landed a few minutes later.
We'd love to see the Phils keep adding to their gaudy wins total, and most importantly have them enter the playoffs as hot as they've spent the month of September. But there may be a game or two like this in the final four matchups. It was encouraging to see the bullpen come through for the most part, which may sound weird given that they ultimately lost the game. It would have been nice to see Greg Dobbs do more than go 0-4 and be charged with the error that led to the Nationals' first run (ugh, when the Phils had Nyjer Morgan caught in a rundown) though. We can expect games to be close in the later innings, and that'll mean a reliance on pinch hitters stepping up.
The series finale is set for tonight at 7, with Joe Blanton up against Ross "Dead Wood" Detweiler.
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