Things went the same way they've been going lately for the Phillies. A mix of starting pitcher mistakes and defensive miscues result in an early deficit. The offense just can't catch up. AJ Burnett was tonight's poor unfortunate soul, vomiting up eight runs and ten hits in six innings. It started in the fourth when Burnett loaded the bases on a double and two walks. Danny Espinosa, who if you'll recall may or may not eat babies, doubled off the right field wall and scored the first two runs of the game. Those two runs turned into three when Stephen Strasburg laced a single up the middle for his first RBI of the year. A forceout scored the fourth run of the inning, and the Nats would go on to score four more over the next two innings. Eight runs was too steep a hill for these Phillies to climb.
They did put some runs on the board, though. Dom Brown, who I hope is embarking on an intense and furious campaign to get me to like him again, started the scoring for the Phillies tonight. After Brown singled, Reid Brignac doubled him home. Brignac then scored when Stephen Strasburg couldn't hold on to a catch from Adam LaRoche. And that wasn't all! John Mayberry Jr's luck as a pinch hitter continued as he hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning. A home run! Gosh, those feel so rare nowadays.
And then, before the Nationals could take the field in the bottom of the seventh, a one hour and 48 minute rain delay. The Phillies made a few tiny peeps once the tarp came back off and game action resumed, but it wasn't enough to even score a run. At least the Nationals didn't score any more runs. The Phillies bullpen turned in another two scoreless innings tonight, so hats off to Antonio Bastardo and Justin De Fratus.
Did the rain delay put a stop to the Phillies' slowly gathering momentum in this game? Who knows. I'd love to blame the rain, but I know these Phillies. Even without the rain delay, another four runs in two inning would be hard for them. Not that it can't be done, of course. Ask Ryan Howard about that. But with the rain delay, it didn't feel like it was happening tonight.
Look at it this way: at least they didn't get shut out!