This Close: Nationals 8, Phillies 7

So Joe Blanton had his worst outing of the season, and the Phillies went into the ninth down by a score of 8-2.  Brad Lidge pitched the bottom of the 8th to "get some work in" pursuant to his new/temporary role as the final inning mop-up specialist.  Did you turn your TV off?

The Phillies charged back, loading the bases with one out for pinch hitter Matt Stairs, hitless since July 11.  And Stairs delivered, blasting a grand slam into the right field seats.  Jimmy Rollins followed up with a single, and scored on a double by Shane Victorino.  After an infield single by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard came to the plate against lefty Ron Villone.  Sadly, the rally ended there, with Ryan Howard grounding into a double play on a slow ground ball to the second baseman.

Sigh.  What else?

Joe Blanton was terrible.  I guess he's earned the right, but eight runs in 4.2 innings is just no good.  And the offense couldn't get a damn thing done against Livan Hernandez, who wasn't good enough to pitch for the Mets this fall.

Nonetheless there are some good things to take away from this -- the offense broke out, for an inning at least, and Brad Lidge had an OK eighth inning; despite allowing a triple to Willie Harris, he struck out two and allowed no runs.  Chad Durbin and Tyler Walker also looked good.

I keep telling myself that two out of three on the road is pretty good under any circumstances, but this one was just so close.  I hope it doesn't come back to bite them.

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