Phillies lefthander J.A. Happ had a 2 hitter, 1 of them a Washington solo homer, going into the sixth inning, but gave up a 3rd hit, plunked a batter and ended up charged with 2 more sixth inning runs. 23 year old lefthander Ross Detwiler gave up early runs as the Phillies scored just enough to edge the Nationals by a 5-4 score pounding 16 hits on Friday off of Detwiler and 5 other Washington relievers.
Despite the win, the Phils still find themselves down by a 1/2 game to the NL East first place Mets who nipped the Florida Marlins Friday in extra innings. As this report is being written, the Marlins have beaten the Mets handily and the Phils, with a Saturday win over Washington, could find themselves back in 1st place leading the Mets by 1/2 game.
The Phils got 4 hits from centerfielder Shane Victorino, 2 hits each from 4 other hitters in the batting order as the entire starting lineup, other than Happ, got at least 1 hit. But the best the Phils could do is plate 5 runs in four innings off of Detwiler, just enough to win. They left 13 runners stranded.
Leftfielder Josh Willingham put the Nationals on the board 1st with a lead-off homer off of Happ in the second inning, the only ball to leave the park fair in the game. But the Phils knotted the score against Detwiler in the second as rightfielder Jayson Werth and 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz each singled and catcher Carlos Ruiz drove in Werth with a double to rightfield.
The Phils then took a 4-1 lead in the third as the big blows vs Detwiler were a 2 run single by leftfielder Raul Ibanez and an RBI triple by Feliz. They added their 5th run against the starter in the fifth. With Victorino and shortstop Jimmy Rollins on 2nd and 3rd base respectively, 2nd baseman Chase Utley grounded into a fielders’ choice scoring Rollins.
Detwiler left after 4 innings and, while the 8 Phillies reached over the final four innings, including a bases loaded with 1 out situation in the seventh inning, the Phils could plate no further runs against the Nationals bullpen.
Meanwhile, Happ opened the sixth by giving up a lead-off single to 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman and followed by striking out rightfielder Adam Dunn. After hitting Willingham with a pitch, that was it for Happ who was replaced by reliever Chad Durbin. Catcher Josh Bard greeted Durbin with a double to right-centerfield scoring Zimmerman and 2nd baseman Anderson Hernandez singled scoring Willingham with Bard then scoring the 4th run, charged to Durbin, on Werth’s fielding error.
Happ, still undefeated in 2009, went 5 1/3 innings and was charged with 3 runs on 3 hits while walking 3 and equalling a career best 5 strikeouts in winning his 3rd game, his 1st win as a starter, of the season. Happ threw 96 pitches, a lot of pitches for 5 1/3 innings.
The AP recap on the game reports reactions of both manager Charlie Manuel and and Happ, himself to his performance:
“He was very aggressive and I thought he did a good job,” Manuel said. “I liked the way he threw. He pitched aggressive and moved the hitters.”
Happ, who began the season in the bullpen, said his confidence as a starter is growing.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I felt pretty good and was able to mix it up more. My goal is to go a little deeper than I did today.”
Washington was then totally shutdown by the tandem of lefthander Scott Eyre, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge, each of whom tossed scoreless innings. Lidge struck out 2 in a clean ninth inning enroute to his 10th save of the season.
In other news, the Phils announced that Brett Myers’ hip condition was much more serious than first thought. The AP report on Yahoo sports regarding Myers’ injury reports:
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Myers has a torn labrum and no date has been set for surgery. Myers was examined by Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York on Friday and Kelly recommended the surgery.
Myers… said Kelly was “shooting for Thursday” for the surgery.
Myers said he was resigned to having the surgery.
“(Kelly) just flat-out told me he could give me a cortisone shot, but that’s just going to make it worse,” he said.
The Phillies placed Myers on the 15-day DL after Friday’s game and called up left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace him on the active roster.
“We’re pretty concerned about it, obviously,” Amaro said. “We don’t know how rehab will go but we have to operate under the assumption that he’ll miss a significant amount of time, if not the rest of the season.”
Said Myers: “I told (Kelly) I wanted to be back in September, but he said it’s a long shot.”
The Phils, who had been testing the waters for available starters for possible trades before Myers’ injury, now seem to be looking in earnest. The AP report notes:
Long term, Amaro said the Phillies would look into trading for a starter.
“If there’s a deal to be made that makes sense, we’ll move on it,” Amaro said. “But it takes two to tango.”
For all of the scores of Thursdays and Friday’s games, click here and here.
On Saturday, ace lefthander Cole Hamels is opposed by undefeated 5-0 Shairon Martis who the Phils pounded pretty well back on April 27.
In Sunday’s series final, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer completes the lefthanded trio to have started against the Capitals. Moyer is opposed by young lefthander John Lannon.
For all of Saturday’s and Sunday’s games, click here and here.