Final: Phillies 8, Nationals 0. WP: Cliff Lee (2-6, 3.73 ERA) LP: Stephen Strasburg (11-5, 3.12 ERA)
I forewarned after the matinee game on Sunday afternoon that many Phillies may have put on the red pinstripes for the very last time. Well, it turns out a couple of fan favorites, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, indeed have. With Victorino going to Los Angeles and Pence heading to San Francisco, the Phils' outfield has a new, fresh persona surrounding it.
The Phillies recalled outfielder Domonic Brown from the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and catcher Brian Schneider was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday night's action. To make room for catching prospect Tommy Joseph, who was a part of the Pence deal, the Phillies sold Tuffy Gosewisch to the Toronto Blue Jays for no compensation.
Victorino and Pence weren't the only Phillies rumored to be on the trading block. Many others were coveted by clubs but deals could not be finalized. Juan Pierre had drawn interest from the Cincinnati Reds, Joe Blanton was the main and perhaps only significant target for the Baltimore Orioles, Ty Wigginton enticed the Yankees as a bench asset, and even Cliff Lee was in a rumored blockbuster deal to the Arizona Diamondbacks that would send power right-handed bat Justin Upton to Philadelphia.
Got to love the trade deadline season. Even former Phillie, Chad Qualls, was traded from the New York Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Casey McGehee. But now that 4:00 pm on July 31st has come and gone, only a trade through waivers can be made.
Tonight's game felt weird. Essentially like a new chapter in Philadelphia Phillies baseball. With Victorino and Pence gone, Domonic Brown has the chance to shine and show his ballclub what he can truly provide to help them win. If you remember, the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu along with Cory Lidle in 2006 to the New York Yankees, in which gave Shane Victorino at the time the chance to show the Phillies his skills in right-field. Maybe Domonic Brown can play up to his potential now that only he is in his way from staying up with the team on the MLB-level.
An early home run by Kevin Frandsen in the top of the second inning got the new-looking Phillies off to the right track offensively. In the top of the third, Juan Pierre stole his 24th and 25th base of the season, and subsequently scored on a throwing error by catcher Jesus Flores.
Things were going so well for the Phillies in tonight's action, even Cliff Lee brought in a run scoring Mayberry on second in the top of the fourth. The inning would get better. Way better. After Cliff Lee stole second off of Stephen Strasburg, Jimmy Rollins smashed a ball off the top of the right field fence, and was able to round the bases for his fourth career inside-the-park home run because of a Bryce Harper fielding blunder.
Jimmy Rollins has the most inside-the-park home runs in baseball since 2000 with 4. Chase Utley has (3), with his most recent coming off of the San Francisco Giants on July 26th last season.
Being on an innings-limit for the season and already given up six earned runs, tying the most he's ever allowed in a start in his career, Strasburg exited the game after just four innings. (4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR). LHP Tom Gorzelanny, former Chicago Cub, came into the game in the 5th and threw three scoreless frames in total (3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR). Henry Rodriguez relieved him in the 8th and part of the ninth (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, o HR), with Drew Storen recording the final two outs in the top of the final frame (0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR).
Domonic Brown got a hit (59th overall) in his first 2012 at-bat off of Rodriguez in the 8th, and Carlos Ruiz along with Laynce Nix brought in two insurance runs in the top of the 9th, capping off the great offensive night for the new-look Phillies.
Cliff Lee retired the final 10 batters he faced, as he threw 103 pitches (68 strikes) in seven scoreless innings (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR). Antonio Bastardo retired the first two batters in the eighth (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR), and Kyle Kendrick (0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR) along with Michael Schwimer recorded the final four outs for the Phillies (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR).
August baseball has arrived, which means only two months remain in the regular season. Vance Worley (5-6, 3.88 ERA) starts for the Phillies Wednesday evening (7:05 pm ET) against Edwin Jackson (6-6, 3.52 ERA). The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and can be heard on 94WIP and 1210 WPHT.