by Tyler Radecki, Staff Writer
The Nationals’ starting rotation has pitched remarkably well all season long. Despite some rough outings, every starter was able to get through at least the fifth inning in every game – something no other team could claim.
On Thursday night, that streak came to an end. Starter John Lannan was pulled in the third inning after giving up five runs, and the Nationals would never recover against Roy Halladay, eventually losing 7-3.
The loss is the Nationals third in a row and drops their season record to 14-17, one game ahead of the Mets for fourth in the N.L. East
Lannan was able to work through the first two innings with just two hits against. But in the third, he couldn’t get anyone out. After a leadoff single by Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino homered to left. John Mayberry, Jr. doubled home Placido Polanco two batters later, and Raul Ibanez delivered the big two-RBI double shortly after to make it 5-0. Lannan did not record an out in the third inning and became the first Nationals starter to fail to work five innings in 2011.
After Lannan was pulled, Brian Broderick came in and allowed Ibanez to score, but got out of the inning without further damage.
The Nationals didn’t do go down without a fight, though. Immediately after the big third inning by Philadelphia, the offense responded.
Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche led off the inning with singles, and Wilson Ramos lined a ball to left field to drive in Werth. Jerry Hairston, Jr. then punched a ground ball into right field to load the bases after a 13-pitch at bat.
Ian Desmond drove a sacrifice fly to center in the next at-bat, scoring LaRoche and making the score 6-2. While it may not have seemed like much, getting two runs and six hits off Halladay through four innings is as good as the team has fared in the star pitcher’s time in Philadelphia. The Nats did no further damage to the star pitcher, and Halladay cruised through three more scoreless innings, totaling 10 strikeouts and did not walk a batter in the effort.
Raul Ibanez added an upper-deck solo homer in the fifth to make it 7-2. Ibanez, who came into the series hitting under .200, was 8-for-12 with two home runs and two doubles in the three games. Once again, he had a monster series against the Nationals.
The Nationals got on the board again in the eighth on a sac fly by Jayson Werth, making the final score 7-3, losing their seventh straight game at Citizens Bank Park dating back to last season.
Suffering a three-game losing streak is not really the way you want to start a 10-day, nine game road trip, and it'll be up to manager Jim Riggleman to make sure the Nats put this series behind them and get ready for the Florida Marlins over the weekend, in the ballpark that usually ends up a house of horrors for this team.
THE GOOD: The bullpen did a very good job in relief, totaling six innings pitched, five hits, one run, two walks and nine strikeouts. Henry Rodriguez was wild in his two innings, giving up two hits and walk, but struck out three and escaped with no runs against.
THE BAD: John Lannan continued to struggle against the Phillies, giving up six runs on five hits and a walk in the third. Lannan’s career record against the Phillies falls to 0-10 with an ERA over six.
THE UGLY: In the fourth inning, Todd Coffey got a bloody nose on the mound, forcing trainer Lee Kuntz to come out and stuff gauze up his nose. Coffey got out of the inning without a run – striking out two batters after the bloody nose.
THE STATS: Eight hits, no walks, 12 strikeouts. 3-for-10 with RISP, 10 LOB. No errors