The Washington Nationals defeated the Phillies 1-0 on a chilly Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Tim Redding (1-0) got the win, tossing seven plus innings of shutout baseball.
Cole Hamels (0-1) took the hard luck loss, giving up one run in eight innings of work.
Jon Rauch got his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The only run of the game came in the sixth inning when Ryan Zimmerman led off with a home run to right that just made it over the wall.
Zimmerman showed in that at-bat why he is the type of player a franchise can build around. The 23-year-old third baseman was 0-for-2 before the home run and got robbed by Ryan Howard on a line drive in his previous at-bat back in the third inning.
Zimmerman didn’t think about how he could have had a base hit his last time up, how cold it was, or how Hamels was pitching masterfully at the time. He simply came up to the plate with an approach and executed it by taking Hamels deep for the game’s only run.
The poise and confidence Zimmerman showcased epitomize a player who understands what it takes to be a good Major League player.
The widely heralded Phillies offense could manage only one hit against Redding and the bullpen duet of Luis Ayala and Rauch.
The top six hitters in the Phillies lineup went a combined 0-for-18 against Nationals pitching.
The Phillies lone hit was a single by Pedro Feliz in the second inning. After the Feliz single, Redding retired the next 14 Phillies he faced in order before issuing a walk to Ryan Howard in the seventh.
The late-game pitching situation for the Phillies turned into an interesting endeavor for Charlie Manuel.
As Hamels pitched through the eighth inning, Manuel had both Chad Durbin and Tom Gordon warming up in the Phillies bullpen. Gordon currently owns a 135.00 ERA after allowing five earned runs in one-third of an inning against the Nationals on Monday.
Manuel opted for Durbin, and then had JC Romero warm up in the ninth, in case Durbin needed any help.
The argument could be made that Romero was up because he was left-handed since the Nationals had a number of switch-hitters left on their bench.
On a 49-degree night, though, why would you warm up another pitcher when Gordon was likely already warm from having thrown during the eighth?
If Gordon truly is this team’s closer, he should be able to get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out. The selections of Durbin and Romero by Manuel signal that either Gordon isn’t healthy or that Manuel has lost confidence in his closer.
Manuel could have lost confidence in his closer after Gordon posted an 11.00 ERA in the spring coupled with Monday’s atrocious outing in the season opener, but only time will tell.
Either way, the Phillies fell to 0-2 and look to be off to another slow start in April.
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