Monday, May 30, 2011

Series preview: Phillies at Nats

Monday, 1:05 p.m. -- RHP Livan Hernandez (3-6, 3.71) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (6-3, 2.35)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. -- RHP Jason Marquis (5-2, 4.26) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (4-4, 3.50)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. -- LHP John Lannan (2-5, 4.40) vs. RHP Roy Oswalt (3-2, 2.60)
TV: MASN Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WHFS-1580 AM

The Nationals had enough trouble with their hated nemeses during a three-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park earlier this month. Now they not only get three more games against the Phillies, they get them with Chase Utley back in the lineup and Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt scheduled to pitch.

The Phillies survived just fine without Utley, who missed the season's first seven weeks with a knee injury. Since getting their All-Star second baseman back, they're 5-2, even though Utley hasn't done much at the plate (.238 average with one homer and two RBI in six games). Still, his return to the lineup has to be appreciated over the triumvirate of Pete Orr, Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez who held the job in his absence.

Remember how bad Raul Ibanez was until he got to feast on Nationals pitching three weeks ago? Well, he's kept it up since, hitting .333 with five homers and 16 RBI over his last 24 games. Ibanez is actually third on the roster with 28 RBI, behind Ryan Howard (40) and Placido Polanco 28).

Pitching, of course, remains Philadelphia's forte. And the Four Aces have lived up to their billing so far. Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Cole Hamels all boast ERAs under 3.50, and all but Oswalt are striking out more than one batter per inning pitched.

The bullpen, meanwhile, has been bolstered by the return of Jose Contreras from the DL. The veteran right-hander had been serving as closer with Brad Lidge hurt, and converted all five save opportunities he had early in the year. But Ryan Madson has performed well in the ninth inning, so he'll remain the Phillies' closer while Contreras (who still hasn't given up a run this season) serves as setup man.

Nats' best vs. Halladay -- Ivan Rodriguez (14-for-39, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 8 K), Matt Stairs (10-for-28, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K), Rick Ankiel (2-for-5, 2B, 2 BB).
Nats' worst vs. Halladay -- Jerry Hairston (3-for-28, 2 BB, 8 K), Alex Cora (4-for-29, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 3 K), Danny Espinosa (1-for-10, RBI, 3 K).
Nats' best vs. Lee -- Ivan Rodriguez (12-for-32, 7 2B, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K), Wilson Ramos (1-for-2, BB, K), Danny Espinosa (1-for-3, 2B, K).
Nats' worst vs. Lee -- Rick Ankiel (0-for-8, 4 K), Matt Stairs (1-for-10, RBI, BB, K), Jerry Hairston (2-for-15, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K).
Nats' best vs. Oswalt -- Laynce Nix (9-for-19, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 3 K), Danny Espinosa (2-for-5, 2 K), Jayson Werth (5-for-18, 2B, RBI, 4 BB, 10 K).
Nats' worst vs. Oswalt -- Ian Desmond (0-for-11, 4 K), Alex Cora (0-for-7, 2 BB, 2 K), Jerry Hairston (2-for-12, 2B).

Phillies' best vs. Hernandez -- Chase Utley (12-for-32, 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 2 K), Placido Polanco (19-for-55, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K), Raul Ibanez (3-for-10, 2B, 2 BB, K).
Phillies' worst vs. Hernandez -- Jimmy Rollins (16-for-68, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K), Ryan Howard (7-for-30, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K), John Mayberry (0-for-1, K).
Phillies' best vs. Marquis -- Chase Utley (13-for-28, 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K), Ryan Howard (7-for-22, HR, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 4 K), Carlos Ruiz (3-for-8, BB, K), Wilson Valdez (3-for-5, 2 RBI, BB).
Phillies' worst vs. Marquis -- Jimmy Rollins (7-for-43, 2B, 2 RBI, 7 BB, 5 K), Placido Polanco (5-for-20, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 BB), Ben Francisco (1-for-5, BB, 3 K).
Phillies' best vs. Lannan -- Raul Ibanez (11-for-20, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 4 K), Chase Utley (11-for-25, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K), Placido Polanco (6-for-12, 2 RBI, BB).
Phillies' worst vs. Lannan -- Wilson Valdez (3-for-16, BB, K), Ryan Howard (5-for-30, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, 13 K).


Doc said...

Nats struggled and lost a series against the NL's worst past weekend...ugh, the Phillies, maybe time to sit in front of my computer with a bag over my head.

Still there is lots to hope for with these guys. They're may not be as bad as the 22-30 suggests.

The pitching still competes (mostly) and the fielding is getting up there with the biggies--led MLB in May!

Too many holes in the lineup offensively. But maybe the 2nd half will be better like some of the past Oakland A's teams of the past.

Desi and Espi get on track, Mickey Morse and Werth continue to rake, RZimm returns---some good things could happen.

Goooooooooooooooo Nats!!!!

dryw said...

Thanks Doc! After sitting through yesterday's travesty, even my enthusiasm was flagging, and my glasses are rosy enough they can be hard to see through! I needed someone to remind me why I continue to hope.


Les in NC said...

While I won't be sitting at the computer with a bag over my head, I will still be watching, and hoping, for a curly W!

Theres a couple of reasons to watch todays game in fact. 1) If there was ever a game to bet that a perfect game might be pitched, it's today. 2) There is speculation that Teddy has a fair chance at winning his race today. 3) What else are you gonna do?

BallstonNat said...

Somewhat random thought, is there a chance Balester or another pitcher comes up today and Maya goes down? An extra arm in the pen would be really nice considering the heat (just got back from a run and it is nasty), and considering the Phillies enjoy hitting the baseball?

If you come up and are sent right back down, do you have to stay down for a certain period of time? Also, Balester's twitter talks about his alarm going off at 3 am. Curious if that meant another flight to DC.

For those going to the game, stay cool.

masnstinks said...

Very close to being a year to the date that Halladay did something special in Fla. I hope not, but the odds are not in our favor. History has shown that this game can be unpredictable - let's hope it is today. Go Nats!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the Nats will be lucky to win one game.

sparky said...

Shouldda juggled the rotation to keep Lannan from having to face the Phils. Remember the definition of insanity?

Anonymous said...

These swoons are getting hard to take. Its like my golf game, some days I can drive, can't putt, other days my irons are good, my driver stinks, other days my putter is magic but everything else sucks. This year the defense has been wonderful, the pitching better than expected but the bats have been anything but hitterish. It's murphys law in natstown. Guess we fans will have to endure another frustrating season (or so it seems) but I still believe that better days are ahead, and not that far off. GO NATS JTinSC

JaneB said...

Well, I am thanking Eeyore for helping me level set: I won't be as frustrated with these guys if I don't expect them to be a .500 club. SO I'm reducing my expectations and my blood pressure and I'm back to my sunny self. I'm with you, though, Sparky -- why the HECK are we pitching Lannan in this series? Just give it to the Phillies that day and save us all the expense of parking and food and the wear and tear in the club house.
Okay, maybe I'm not TOTALLY back to my sunny self But closer than yesterday.
Go Nats!

dryw said...

Hey, unrelated question, but I thought someone on here would know!
I'm looking at going to a game with a friend who has young children. I'm assuming the infant does not need a ticket, but the toddler, who will actually sit in a seat, probably does. Anyone have better info than my guesses? ;-)

baseballswami said...

Will we get a hit today? My guess is -- accidental bloop that falls in -- 6th inning. Talk about low expectations - just hoping we don't play too badly. My new expectation is that we fall way below 500, and way out of it. Then, the second half, the team starts to find itself, plays better baseball and we start chanting 2012.2012,2012! More frustrating baseball in our immediate future, though.

Anonymous said...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale a tale of a fateful trip That started from tropic FLA inside a tiny dugout ...

The manager was sage baseball man,
the skipper of "smart ball" lore
25 AAAA's (especially Ankiel) set sail that day
for a 162 game tour, a 162 game tour ...

The weather started getting rough the tiny dugout was tossed
If not for the high jinx of the racing presidents the season would be lost
the season would be lost.

The dugout is mired in the standings, deep in the loss column's aisle
With Giggleman
He's the Skipper too.
The Billionaire and his son.
The mascot Screech.
The professor GM and Eckstein too,
Here on Giggleman's Isle.

So this is the tale of the AAAA's,
We've had to suffer with them for a long, long time,
We'll have to make the best of things,
Its an uphill climb.

The racing presidents and the Skipper too,
Will do their very best,
To make the AAAA's poshly comfortable,
In their topic island mess.

No hits, no runs, terrible baseball cards,
Not a single decent OBP,
Like Mario Mendoza as pathetic as can be.

So join us here each night my friends,
You'll have an upside down smile,
From 25 stranded AAAA's
Here on "Giggleman's Isle"!

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