The Day After – Phillies lose 2-1 to Nationals

By STEPHEN WILDMAN
Senior Baseball Insider — swildman@highhopesblog.com

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Charlie Manuel must decide who to keep on the roster for the playoff push (Photo: csnphilly.com)

With the Phillies clinching both the NL East division crown, as well as the best record in the National League giving them home field advantage throughout the playoffs, you can understand a little bit of a hangover.  That’s just what Phils’ fan witnessed on Tuesday night, as the team fell 2-1 to the Washington Nationals in the second game of this three-game series. 

Roy Oswalt looked sharp in his limited time on the mound, pitching five innings and giving up one unearned run in the bottom of the 1st.  Oswalt walked leadoff man Nyjer Morgan, whole stole second base, and then moved to third on a throwing error from Greg Dobbs.  Morgan scored on a ground out by Adam Dunn.  Oswalt almost seemed bored on the mound, as if he knew he’d be out of the game shortly anyway.  Dunn blasted a mammoth walk-off solo homer to the upper deck in right field off of Jose Contreras to end the contest in the bottom of the ninth. 

The offense, despite nine hits, was unable to sustain any momentum with men on base.  They left seven men on base through the first six innings as a team.  Nationals’ starter Jason Marquis threw six innings, giving up seven hits and also striking out seven.  The Phillies lone run came from a Raul Ibanez solo homerun in the top of the fourth inning.  

The best thing that occurred tonight was that various bench players were able to get some work in the field and at the plate.  Ben Francisco got the start in center field, and went 2-4 at the plate.  Rookie Domonic Brown started in  placed of right fielder Jayson Werth, and went 1-3.  Jimmy Rollins started his first game since earlier in the month after a hamstring strain sidelined him for three weeks, and went 1-3 at the plate as well. 

You can label the last four games of the season as auditions for certain players hoping to make the postseason roster.  Fringe players such as utility man Dobbs, outfielder John Mayberry Jr.,  and relief pitcher David Herndon, are vying for roster spots come October. 

All that being said, it’s certainly nice to be able to take a breather before real baseball begins again come next week.

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Filed under game recap, Steve Wildman

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