GAME 159 REVIEW: Home Schedule Ends with a Thud

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, September 30, 2010 | , , , , | 0 comments »

THE RESULT:  The Philadelphia Phillies, having clinched the N.L. East title two days ago, started a lineup Wednesday night that was reminiscent of an away Spring Training game.  The only regular starters in the lineup were shortstop Jimmy Rollins and centerfielder Shane Victorino.

No Chase Utley.  No Ryan Howard.  No Jayson Werth.

No matter.

The Phillies backups hammered Washington Nationals starter Ross Detwiler for four home runs and seven runs total in 4 2/3 innings.  Detwiler (L, 1-3, 4.25) gave up seven hits and walked two, striking out just two.  He left balls up and out over the plate, and he was punished early (back-to-back soslo shots in the second) and often (part-time outfielder Ben Francisco hit two homers).

And the Nats hitters were shut down by Joe Blanton (W, 9-6, 4.74).  Blanton, who is second among qualifiers in most hits allowed per nine innings, went seven strong, allowing just three hits and three walks, striking out six.

For the three-game series, the Nationals mustered just eight base hits.

Their record sits at 68-91 with three games to play against the New York Mets.

The highlight of the game for the home crowd was generated by themselves, giving slugging first baseman Adam Dunn a standing ovation before his final at bat of the game, possibly his last in a Nats uniform in Nationals Park. 

Barring any last-minute contract agreement, Dunn will file for free agency after the season, and several sources have said they don't expect the Nationals to meet Dunn's requirements for a contract for next year.

The significant of Dunn's at bat music for that final trip, "Turn the Page" by Metallica, was not lost on the legions of fans that paid tribute to Dunn, hoping that the team hasn't turned the page on the idea of re-signing their cleanup hitter.

THE GOOD:  Once again, the bullpen.  Miguel Batista, Collin Balester, Joel Peralta and Doug Slaten combined for 4 1/3 innings of one-hit scoreless relief.

THE BAD:  Adam Dunn.  On what could very well be his last appearance in a Nationals uniform at Nats Park, he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.  He even fessed up after the game of pressing, mainly because of the cheers -- and the standing ovation he received before his last at bat. 

"That's the first time in a long time I've had that feeling of, I wouldn't call it nerves, but I'd call them jitters," said Dunn.  "I tried to hit every ball as far as I possibly could."

THE UGLY:  Detwiler.  He's been good in limited opportunity late in the season, but tonight he didn't have the velocity or location to beat Philly's "spring training" lineup.  It was a pretty disconcerting start heading into a very important off-season for him.

The former first-round pick, Detwiler is danger of being relegated to "bust" status, his career derailed by injury and ineffectiveness.  What should make him dangerous, his funky delivery, also causes his hip problems, and he just didn't show his pre-surgery velocity or movement.  Hopefully a full off-season will allow the hip to fully heal and strengthen so that he gets that zip back in spring training.

THE STATS:  8 Ks, 3 BBs, 0-for-6 with RISP, 5 LOB, 0 GIDP, 0 Es

NEXT GAME: Off-day Thursday.  Friday the Nats start their final series of the season with the New York Mets.  Jordan Zimmermann (1-2, 5.76) takes on Pat Misch (0-4, 4.66) at 7:10 pm from Citi Field.