Monday, September 27, 2010

Game 157: Phillies at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Phillies will try to clinch the NL East tonight, if weather permits.
As you can see from the above photo, the weather isn't very conducive to baseball today. It's been raining on and off all day, and it promises to continue all night. That said, there figure to be periods of heavy rain, periods of light rain and periods of no rain throughout the evening, so my hunch is that they'll try their best to get tonight's game in.

If and when they do play, Roy Halladay will be looking to pitch the Phillies to their fourth consecutive NL East title. This is what they acquired the right-hander for, so it's only appropriate he's starting this game. John Lannan starts for the Nationals, hoping his late-season surge helps put an end to his long-time struggles against the Phillies (he's 0-7 with a 6.06 ERA in 10 career head-to-head starts).

For the fifth straight game, the Nats will be without Ryan Zimmerman, whose strained ribcage muscle has not healed yet to the point he can play without risking serious injury. With each passing day, it looks more likely that Zim won't be returning to play this season.

Check back for both weather and game updates throughout...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Thunderstorms, 75 degrees, Wind 14 mph RF to LF
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn

RF Michael Morse
LF Roger Bernadina
C Wilson Ramos
3B Alberto Gonzalez
P John Lannan

PHILLIES (93-63)
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Jayson Werth
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
SS Wilson Valdez
P Roy Halladay
5:25 p.m. -- Your weather update: It hasn't been raining the last few hours, and the tarp has been off the infield throughout. Still, the Nats are taking BP indoors, and the rain is supposed to resume around 7 p.m. They're certainly going to proceed as though they're playing. If, however, this game has to be postponed, there has been discussion of playing the makeup on Thursday afternoon (a common off-day for both teams) instead of playing a doubleheader one of the next two days.

5:29 p.m. -- Your Ryan Zimmerman update: It's unlikely he'll return to play before the end of the season, Jim Riggleman said, though Zim isn't totally ruling it out yet. He said he'd need to feel no pain at all in his ribcage before he could try swinging again. If that all went fine with no problems, he could maybe try to come back and play this weekend. But don't count on it happening. I'll have a full story on Zim on in a little while.

5:34 p.m. -- One more update to pass along: Ross Detwiler will start Wednesday night's game against the Phillies, but he won't be replacing anyone in the rotation. Riggleman said they'll be sticking with a six-man staff the rest of the way. Which means tonight will be John Lannan's final start of the season. Which means at best he'll match his career high with nine wins. He won't be able to get to 10. The rotation the rest of the way will be: Lannan (tonight), Marquis (tomorrow), Detwiler (Wednesday), Zimmermann (Friday), Maya (Saturday), Hernandez (Sunday).

6:20 p.m. -- It's not currently raining, but the grounds crew just pulled the tarp back over the infield. Skies are darkening and it looks like some heavy stuff is on its way. If that's the case, seems pretty unlikely this game starts on time.

6:24 p.m. -- I guess I spoke too soon, because now they're folding the tarp all the way up and rolling it up completely. I don't get it. Whatever the case, it's still not raining, but the skies are pretty dark.

7:00 p.m. -- Lineup cards are being exchanged, Roy Halladay is walking in from the bullpen to lots of cheers from the Philly fans here, and we're getting ready for baseball.

7:04 p.m. -- Before we get started, some news hot off the wire: The Nats have named Tyler Moore their minor league player of the year and Tom Milone their minor league pitcher of the year. I'll have some more details in a full posting in a little while.

7:05 p.m. -- And, amazingly, we're underway on time. John Lannan starts Shane Victorino off with a fastball for ball one. LOTS of Phillies fans here. There are maybe only 7,000 people in the park, but I'd guess at least 4,000 or 5,000 of them are from Philly.

7:14 p.m. -- A one-out single for Placido Polanco, followed by a wild pitch, put the Phillies in position to take an early lead. But Lannan came up big in striking out Chase Utley looking and then getting Ryan Howard to line out to center.

7:22 p.m. -- Roy Halladay certainly didn't have to break a sweat in the bottom of the first. Retired the side with two weak grounders and a strikeout of Ian Desmond.

7:25 p.m. -- Nationals Park erupts as Jayson Werth takes Lannan deep to put the Phillies up 1-0 in the second. I amend my previous estimation: At least 90 percent of the fans here are rooting for Philadelphia.

7:42 p.m. -- Six up, six down for Halladay. He's yet to allow a ball to leave the infield and has recorded three strikeouts.

7:52 p.m. -- Well, there won't be a no-hitter here tonight. Wilson Ramos just led off the bottom of the third with a sharp single to right.

8:16 p.m. -- These two pitchers are just cruising along. Halladay has needed only 58 pitches to make it through five innings, having faced the minimum in the process (Ramos was retired on a double play in the third). Lannan, meanwhile, has retired eight of the last nine batters he faced, having thrown only 72 pitches through five. To this point, Werth's solo homer in the second holds up as the lone run. Phillies lead 1-0 as we go to the sixth.

8:35 p.m. -- Well, Lannan's night and season just came to an abrupt conclusion. He served up three runs in the sixth, the big blow a two-run double from Werth, and got pulled after only 5 2/3 innings. So Lannan's season ends on a sour note. He finishes with a 4.65 ERA in 25 starts; his record will either be 8-7 or 8-8 pending the outcome of this game. Phillies now lead 4-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth.

8:41 p.m. -- I should note that in 11 starts after returning from Class AA Harrisburg, Lannan wound up going 6-2 (or 6-3) with a 3.42 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 47-to-14. Certainly pitched much better after his midseason demotion.

8:50 p.m. -- Tonight's paid attendance: 14,309. So with a season ticket base of about 10,000, figure there are about 4,309 Phillies fans here. If there's one non-season-ticket-holding Nats fan here, I'd be stunned.

8:55 p.m. -- Halladay is getting more efficient by the inning. He just finished off the bottom of the seventh on only nine pitches and has thrown only 78 for the game. One Nat has reached base (Ramos in the third). Only five batters have gotten the ball out of the infield. They just have no chance here tonight.

8:59 p.m. -- This has gotten out of control. Plate umpire Todd Tichenor just issued warnings to Collin Balester and both benches after Balester threw a 76 mph CURVEBALL over Jayson Werth's head. Yes, a CURVEBALL. Give me a break.

9:09 p.m. -- Eighty-seven pitches for Halladay through eight. Dunn did connect for a single in the eighth, giving the Nats two hits tonight. Still, it appears "Doc" will be on the mound when the Phillies clinch the NL East title in a few minutes.

9:36 p.m. -- We go to the bottom of the ninth, the Nats now trailing 8-0 after a wretched top of the ninth that featured four runs, four hits, two walks, two strikeouts and several butchered attempts at defense. Halladay now returning to the mound for the division-clinching shutout. All that's standing in his way are Alberto Gonzalez, a pinch-hitter and Danny Espinosa. Nats have him right where they want him.

9:42 p.m. -- That's it. Phillies win 8-0 and clinch their fourth straight NL East title, three of the clinchers having come against the Nationals. They mob at the center of the diamond to celebrate, with thousands of their fans cheering. Not one of the more glorious moments in Nats history.


Feel Wood said...

Given that it's the home team's call, and that the vast majority of ticket holders for tonight are fans of the visitors anyway, why wouldn't Kasten just say screw 'em and call tonight's game in favor of a day-night doubleheader tomorrow? It could be partial atonement for his part in the whole Opening Day debacle. And if people don't like it, what are they gonna do, fire him?

Ernie said...

What's the best way to find out if the game is on? I'm stuck with a ticket anyway and would like to get down there to see Halladay. I can put up with some rain delays, but not really excited about the idea of heading all the way to the stadium to find out the game is off.

If the team doesn't post any official notice, an update around 5:30 would be really helpful Mark. I would guess that's about the time most of us will decide whether it's worth heading out.

Assuming it is postponed, thanks for suffering through what looks to be several hours of delays so that we don't have to...

Steve M. said...

Feel Wood, I love it/ Plus they can win the 1st game and get drunk celebrating clinching 1st place and let the Nats get some revenge in the 2nd part of the doubleheader!

Section 222 said...

@Ernie -- If you call the Nationals main number at 202-675-6287, then press 5, you get the Inclement Weather hotline. The Nats will post any official cancellation there. They don't make a prediction about whether the game might be canceled at a later time, but at least you can find out before you leave what the official status of the game is.

DC Tom said...

If we truly want the Philly fans to have to suffer through the clincher, then by all means the call should be to PLAY THE GAME tonight.

Make them start, make them warm up Halladay, and then make them take him out after a 1 hour rain delay in the 3rd inning. Make 'em toss out Vance Worley or Danys Baez or JC Romera for the middle innings...and then another rain delay...toy with them by keeping the game close...keep selling beers to the Philly faithful during each miserable, damp moment as they watch the scoreboard in the Braves-Marlins game...

And, indeed, Stan, if in fact the Braves take a lead on the Marlins...make sure to show those replays on the scoreboard. During a rain delay, show the live feed of the Braves-Marlins only if the Braves are winning. All the way down to Billy Wagner closing out the game while the soaked Philly fans wait through a second mid-fifth inning rain delay.

And then beat them tonight at about midnight.

Repeat tomorrow.

swang said...

+1 for DC Tom. That's an awesome plan.

Ernie said...

Thanks for the update Mark. I guess I'll try my luck.

LoveDaNats said...

@DC Tom
From your lips (keyboard) to God's ears!

JaneB said...

DC Tom: bingo. Yet another reason to hope the FO reads Mark. And this lower part too!

BinM said...

I think the FO has been interested in the webblogs on the Nationals for a while; Otherwise, they wouldn't have offered press credentials to some of the authors this year.

Sec3MySofa said...

@1a: Happy Bus likes DC Tom's plan

Mr Donkey said...

At the game. Surprised that there are not more people here. For every loud Philly fan there are 10 seats without a nationals fan. That's the nationals fault not the other teams fans. Someday let it be us up north filling their park.

JaneB said...

Mr Donkey, thanks for taking one for the team and the rest of us, too. Count me as one of the guilty. I haven't used our seats to be there in person to stomach the Phillies fans since opening day. I'm planning to be there Wednesday but even now it makes me sick to think about.

Good for John for sitting them down with only one hit.

Smatt1001 said...

Looks like Lannan will continue his woes against the Phils tonight. Just pulled in the 5th after giving up two more runs to the Phils.

Knoxville Nat said...

Hey Mark, what is the rule about being hit by a pitch (Utley)? I thought a batter had to make an attempt to get out of the way of the pitch? Utley never seems to do that but instead always takes one for the team.

CapPeterson said...


Maybe our guys should start emulating Mr. Utley. That was a critical AB.

CBinDC said...

BTW...... Mark your 24th fact of the Nationals was very correct NOT ONE mention of the Nationals on any radio show today that I heard ......just mindless football talk

Knoxville Nat said...


I don't disagree with you at all. It just gets under my skin that Utley gets away with that crap. And as you said at a critical point. Lannan got himself into trouble with the walk and the HBP but if the ump makes the call there maybe that inning plays out differently.

Smatt1001 said...

Good lord talk about a ninth inning meltdown for the Nats.

Michael J. Hayde said...

Ah, well... I have tickets for Wednesday night. Now that the Phils have clinched, maybe their phans will stay the hell away.

Doc said...

Another good short stint for Ballystar! Gotta find some positive here, even if ever so small!

Anonymous said...

But I think I would rather have seen Josh Wilike than Joe Bisensius ex Philly Phan pitcher.

Anonymous said...

they say you reap what you sow

well, the Lerners planted some doo doo in the offseason with the "let the pitching come to us" strategy, and it's grown into an impressive pile of trash from Philadelphia

this is a disgrace for the organization

CBinDC said...

You would think they don't want to come now that their bestest friend StanK has quit .

Mr Baseball said...

Don't blame Stan! If the Washington fans bought tickets there would be no seats for Philly fans. Put the blame where it belongs, Washington doesn't have a large fan base.

Also, it looks good, "GET YOUR RED ON!" You can't tell who are Nationals or Philly fans. We should be TRUE AND WEAR BLUE! They are and will always be our number 1 rival and we have to wear their colors. What a stupid organization!

That's like the Redskins wearing Dallas' colors!

Anonymous said...

How many of those die hard near human Phillie fans would have sat in a rainstorm to watch their team if they only had 67 wins?

CBinDC said...

I DO BLAME STAN ...he created this situation STAN never wanted to understand this fan base it was easier to try and make some noise in other cities he had been visiting all these years with the Braves and sell those people .....those folks he understood ....we to him were ungrateful and complainers

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