"Dadgummit I tol' them I'm gon' use my best relievers in low-leverage situations and wear 'em down for the close games!" (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Charlie Manuel went to the well with Ryan Madson one too many times, and it cost the Phillies tonight in Washington, as the Nationals rallied against the Phillies' closer, scoring six runs in the bottom of the ninth and winning tonight's game 8-4 on two out Ryan Zimmerman walkoff grand slam. Truly horror of Lovecraftian proportions.
The game was a weird one from the start, with a two-hour plus rain delay commencing midway through the top of the first inning. Looking to protect his fragile, erstwhile ace, the Phillies decided to shelve scheduled starter Roy Oswalt in favor of Kyle Kendrick, who did a more than adequate job, giving up just two runs in six innings pitched.
The Phillies did all of their scoring in the top of the third inning, batting around against Livan Hernandez, who returned to the game after the rain delay and coughed up four runs and seven hits in four innings pitched. The Nats' bullpen took control, however, allowing just one Phillies hit and one walk in a combined five innings of work from Tom Gorzellany, Sean Burnett, and Todd Coffey.
After Brad Lidge and Antonio Bastardo each contributed a hitless inning, the Nats managed to get to Madson early, despite only actually hitting a couple of balls hard. After allowing consecutive singles to start off the inning to Jayson Werth, Danny Espinosa, and Jonny Gomes, the Phillies stared down a first and second, nobody out jam. After Wilson Ramos bunted Espinosa and Gomes to third and second, an intentional walk to Jesus Flores, an Ian Desmond single tied game at four runs apiece. Madson managed to strike out Rick Ankiel, who is a bad hitter, for the second out, but fell to a full count against All-Star Ryan Zimmerman. Madson grooved a fastball, and that was it.
So maybe that decision to pitch Bastardo and Madson with a 9-2 lead on Wednesday night wasn't the best tactical move, huh?
Fangraph of Suffering