August 9, 2013
Box Score (from ESPN.com)
By Nick Tricome
These two teams had playoff expectations in the spring, but now even a .500 record has proven to be a bit much for them to achieve.
The Phillies and Nationals are both well out of NL East contention at this point and the same goes for a wild card spot.
So a series that could have been a pivotal point in deciding who would sit atop the division by the end of September, is now nothing more than a competition for bragging rights.
The Phillies didn't get off to a good start on that one, though, as they lost the series opener 9-2.
The offense struggled against Nationals starter Dan Haren.
Two earned runs from an RBI single by Chase Utley in the fourth and an RBI forceout by Cody Asche in the seventh was all the scoring the Phillies could put together on Friday night.
Haren gave Washington seven solid innings, keeping the Phillies to those two runs and just four hits. He also recorded seven strikeouts while he was at it.
Meanwhile, the Nationals' bats were having a field day against John Lannan.
Lannan was tapped for nine hits and eight earned runs in five innings pitched. The onslaught began with a two-run homer by Anthony Rendon and a solo shot by Ryan Zimmerman in the second inning.
A four-run inning in the fifth would be the end of Lannan's night. Wilson Ramos kicked things off with an RBI double. Then a bases loaded walk to Haren with two outs and a two-run single by Denard Span in the next at-bat was the final straw.
The Phillies' bullpen would allow one more run in the eighth off an RBI single by Bryce Harper, with Raul Valdes on the mound.
Washington's bullpen kept the Phillies off the board in the last two innings, with Ryan Mattheus and Ian Krol keeping the Phils without a hit in the eighth and ninth.
Cliff Lee (10-5, 3.13 ERA) will take the ball for the Phillies in the second of a three-game series on Saturday night. The Nationals will send Taylor Jordan (1-3, 3.76 ERA) to the mound, looking to win the series.
(Image from MLB.com and the Associated Press)