The Phillies took both games of today’s Day/ Night double header at Nationals Park in Washington. Raul Ibanez led the charge in both games, finishing with three home-runs on the day. Here’s a closer look at today’s action...
After a twelve-inning game Friday night, that forced the Phillies to dive deep into their bullpen, the team needed some decent innings and a quality start from Brett Myers in game one Saturday.
And they got just what they needed. Myers even further improved his unblemished road record (3-0) with his win Saturday.
Myers struck out eight, including four in his last two innings, giving the bullpen plenty of breathing room, as he left with a 6-2 lead, coming out for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth.
“I was thinking about sending him back out there, but once we had runners in scoring position and all those left-handed hitters on the bench, I figured we might as well use them,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Manuel’s tactics worked, and the Phils were able to tack on a couple more runs.
Myers, who’s been hurt often by the long ball, allowed no exceptions Saturday. The ball flew out of Nationals Park, for both sides in the early portion of the game. Myers surrendered two home-runs.
“After the third inning I felt like he really settled in and started going more at the hitters,” Manuel observed. “He looked like he was really making sure he was spotting his fastball.”
Offensively, the Phils weren’t so shabby either. Their 14 hit assault was led by outfielder Raul Ibanez. Ibanez put the Phils ahead quickly, hitting homeruns in each of his first two at bats. In his first multihomer game of the season and the 10th of his career, Ibanez followed up a four-hit game on Friday with three more hits and four RBIs.
After a Jayson Werth home-run in the second to tie things up, the Phils started to pile things on in the third. They never looked back from there.
The Phils bullpen hit a minor speed bump in the bottom of the eighth, when Ryan Madson came on in relief and gave up three runs on four hits to pull the Nationals to within three at 8-5, making it a save situation for struggling Phillies’ closer.
But “Lights Out’ Lidge lived up to his name,
pitching a scoreless ninth and getting dangerous pinch-hitter Elijah Dukes to strike out swinging for the final out and his sixth save.
Manuel like what he saw, and continued to instill his confidence in Lidge.
“His stuff is there, it’s good, and he’s our closer,” Manuel said. “We’re going to keep running him out there to get him right.”
The rains came in full force Saturday night, giving the Phillies and Nationals bullpens a much needed rest.
With Philadelphia leading, 7-5, in the top of the sixth inning, and the bases loaded for Ryan Howard, the skies opened up forcing crew-chief Laz Diaz to call for the tarps– sending both clubs scurrying off the field and into a rain delay which became a “call” after an hour and a half.
Before the rain delay, the Phillies called on Andrew Carpenter, who had just one big league inning under his belt, to start for the Phillies, in lieu of J.A. Happ, who was scheduled to pitch, but was forced to pitch two innings in last night’s 12-inning win.
Carpenter was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley just after midnight on Friday. He didn’t arrive in Washington until the sixth inning of game one.
In the first the Nationals gave Carpenter a typical, ‘welcome to the big leagues, kid,’ greeting him with a double to the wall by Cristian Guzman and an RBI single by Nick Johnson to put Carpenter in an immediate 1-0 hole. Carpenter managed to limit the damage to just that in the first inning by working out of a bases-loaded jam.
“I was actually more nervous [in last year's start] than I was today,” said Carpenter, who was 1-0 with a 4.72 ERA in six starts for the Iron Pigs. “I didn’t have too much time to think about it, which was probably a good thing.”
He settled down from there too, cruising, until he hit a little trouble in the fifth–a two-run single by Willie Harris, causing Charlie Manuel, who saw the storms coming, to go get his rookie and replace him with Clay Condrey, to sure things up, just in case the game wouldn’t last much longer.
“I wanted to make sure we got in those five innings,” Manuel said. “I wanted Carpenter to go five, but that was the most bullets he’s thrown this year and he was getting worn down. Their hitters did a good job of stretching the count on him. But I felt he was aggressive, he stayed in there and battled and made the pitches when he had to.”
Offensively, the Phils bats got things done as well, scoring seven runs in just five innings, and having the bases loaded in the sixth, when the tarps were, at first unsuccessfully drug onto the field. Ryan Howard, who embedded a two-run third-inning shot in the centerfield batters eye. The ball had to pulled out of the lawn, beyond the 402′ sign in centerfield.
And then there was Raul Ibanez, who led the charge all day, hit a pivotal fifth inning homerun, his third of the day.
The Nationals never stood a chance from there.
The Phils and Nationals are back at it on Sunday, where the Phils will try to complete the four-game sweep of the last-place Nationals. The Phils will hand the ball to Chan Ho Park, who will go up against Jordan Zimmerman. Game time is set for 1:35 from Nationals Park.
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