Posted by Kevin Durso
Raul Ibanez after striking out in the eighth. (Courtesy of SI.com)
It took 154 games, but the Phillies have reached a new high (or low) and are on the verge of another new high, er, low. The Phillies had constantly found a way to escape losses and take the impact of a loss and reverse it. For right now, they can't seem to break any slide they are in. Another night at the Citizens Bank Park was uneventful, unmemorable, and forgettable.
The Nationals opened the scoring in the second, as Wilson Ramos hit a two-run shot.
The Phillies came right back in the second. A pair of singles gave the Phillies a chance. Ben Francisco singled to score one run. Vance Worley would add an RBI single to tie it.
In the third, Raul Ibanez connected on an RBI single to give the Phillies the lead.
The Phillies would hold that lead behind Worley for most of the night. In the sixth, Danny Espinosa belted a two-run shot to give the Nationals the lead.
Worley finished after six, allowing four runs on six hits, walking three, and striking out six. Joe Blanton would pitch a scoreless seventh.
The Phillies went to the eighth with Justin De Fratus on the mound. He allowed a walk and hit a batter before giving way to Antonio Bastardo. Bastardo allowed a run on a bunt attempt, throwing the ball away for an error. Two runs would score in the seventh, one on the error, and another on a single by Ramos.
John Mayberry Jr. trimmed that lead to two, blasting a deep two-run shot to left in the eighth.
That would be all from both sides for the rest of the night. The Phillies had no other answer, and the Phillies dropped their fifth straight game, 7-5.
The Phillies tonight had problems in every sense. It was tough luck mainly, because the issues kept shifting. The Phillies finally scored more than three runs, and of course, it wasn't enough. Vance Worley wasn't bad, but he wasn't great. The bullpen should have kept the gap close. They didn't, and the Phillies couldn't escape.
This slump the Phillies are in has hit a dangerous point. It's only so long before this carries straight into the playoffs, and isn't solved. Also, with teams like the Cardinals charging hard for a playoff spot, the Phillies won't want to face a red hot team. At this point, it almost doesn't matter. These games are meaningless, but the Phillies don't look anything like they did over the summer, and that will be a problem in the Postseason. The Phillies have lost their dominance, they have lost their swagger, they have lost quite a bit lately. The good teams find a way to get it back, and get it back in a hurry. The Phillies will need to get all the momentum they can in the next seven games. Or at the very least, maybe the Postseason should start soon, because maybe the Phillies would turn things around if they actually had something to play for.
The Phillies try to avoid their first six-game losing streak this season, and first sweep in a series of three games or more tomorrow against the Nationals. Roy Oswalt gets the start against Brad Peacock.