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Washington Nationals Done In by Six-Run Eighth: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

ATLANTA - APRIL 11: Pitcher Joel Hanrahan #38 of the Washington Nationals throws in relief against the Atlanta Braves on April 11, 2009 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Dave NicholsSenior Analyst IApril 27, 2009
NATIONALS CLUB FIVE HOMERS, PHILLIES HIT TWO GRAND SLAMS
THE RESULT: Garrett Mock and Joel Hanrahan conspired to allow six earned runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Nats waste 11 runs and lose the opener to the Philadelphia Phillies, 13-11.

The Nationals hit five home runs and pounded out 12 hits against six Phillies pitchers, but it was to no avail.

Mock started the eighth by striking out catcher Lou Marson. It went downhill quickly. Pedro Feliz singled, Jimmy Rollins doubled, and Shane Victorino hit a sacrifice fly to plate Feliz.

With two outs, Mock gave up a single to Chase Utley, driving in Rollins, and manager Manny Acta went to Hanrahan. Hanrahan then walked Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth.

The first pitch to Raul Ibanez was a fastball right down the middle of the plate from Hanrahan, and the veteran outfielder made no mistake, clearing the bases with a grand slam.

THE TAKEAWAY: You can't lose scoring 11 runs in a game. You. Just. Can't. Someone has to lose his job over this, and it's probably going to be Hanrahan. How can Acta give him the ball in a high-leverage situation right now? He was completely incapable of throwing strikes tonight.

Hanrahan has talent, but he needs to get his head on straight, because a team with shaky starters and cruddy defense CAN'T have a closer giving games away.

In the post game press conference, Acta said they would have to "think it through" whether Hanrahan was still his closer.

THE GOOD: Ryan Zimmerman, et al. Zim went 2-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs. Nick Johnson, Adam Dunn, and Elijah Dukes all homered as well.

THE BAD: Shairon Martis. The rookie gave up seven earned on eight hits and four walks with three strikeouts in five innings. The Phillies have some hitters, and they took advantage of a rookie finding his way tonight.

THE UGLY: Joel Hanrahan. He was flat-out terrible. He walked Howard on five pitches, including a wild pitch. He walked Jayson Werth on five pitches. And he wasn't even close. This wasn't pitching too fine; he had zero control. Acta can't go to him in a high-leverage situation until he gets straightened out.

NEXT GAME: Tomorrow against these same Phillies. John Lannan (0-2, 4.43) against Cole Hamels (0-2, 9.69).

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