GAME 29 REVIEW: Phils Drop Nats 4-1 in Werth's Return

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, May 04, 2011 | , , , | 0 comments »

by Tyler Radecki, Staff Writer

Whenever the Nationals face the Phillies, they know that every mistake can be the difference between winning and losing. The margin of error is razor thin, and Tuesday night, a miscue in left field and a struggling offense cost the team as they fell to the Phillies, 4-1.

Livan Hernandez was knocked around for 10 hits and 4 walks in 6 1/3 innings, but he kept the Phillies within striking distance, limiting them to just 2 runs. But in the 7th, Hernandez was pulled after giving up an RBI single to Ryan Howard. Todd Coffey got the next out, but the big blow came when Raul Ibanez launched a drive to left center off Doug Slaten.

Both Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Michael Morse raced towards the ball, but as they converged, they both pulled back. The ball dropped between them, scoring another run, giving the Phillies a 4-1 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.

All game long, the Nats offense was shut down by Phillies starter Cole Hamels, who tossed a complete game 5-hitter. His lone mistake was a home run by Michael Morse, who drove a belt-high fastball over the right field wall.

Hamels did more than just pitch a gem. Offensively, he contributed in a big way: he tripled in the 3rd inning and scored and singled in the 8th. Though Hamels, like many of the Phillies, was able to get on base with relative ease, Hernandez forced them to strand runners all night, but his offense couldn’t back him up.

Other than Morse’s 2-hit night, the rest of the lineup struggled to make good contact. The only other extra-base hit was a double by Ivan Rodriguez and the other 3 hits and walk were scattered over the game.

Jayson Werth, playing in his first game in Philadelphia as a National, was 0-3 with a walk, and received a mixed reaction from the crowd in his first at bat. Before he stepped in, Werth took his helmet off and waved it to the crowd, acknowledging both the boos and the cheers.

Werth walked in that at bat, but was held hitless the rest of the game. The Phillies offense, though, finally strung some hits together, ultimately taking advantage of a mistake in left field to seal the game.

THE GOOD: Michael Morse was the lone bright spot offensively for the Nats as he went 2-3 with a home run, the team’s only run of the game.

THE BAD: The offense couldn’t get anything off of Cole Hamels all game, only managing 5 hits off the lefty over his complete game win.

THE UGLY: With the game tied 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th inning, Raul Ibanez drove a ball to deep left-center field. Left fielder Michael Morse and center fielder Jerry Hairston, Jr. tracked it, but it dropped in between them on the warning track, scoring a run and essentially taking the Nats out of the game.

THE STATS: Five hits, one walk, six strikeouts. 0-for-3 with RISP, 3 LOB, 2 GIDP. No errors.