Saturday, May 5, 2012

Phils drop Opener to Nats/Umps, Lee Update

The Phillies dropped their series opener in Washington last night, 4-3 in the 11th. It was the first time the Phillies have visited Washington since the whole "Take Back the Park; Natitude Park” thing started. One thing is for sure, there were still a ton of Phillies' fans in attendance.

You hate to blame the umpires very often for a loss, but the Phils certainly have a legitimate gripe with the men blue.

It's amazing that as long as the game has been around and as much as it has progressed, if an umpire is scratched late for whatever reason, that they can't get another umpire to fill in. And if there had been four umpires last night, the Phillies would have won.

Charlie Manuel was tossed in the first inning, when Bryce Harper walked on a check-swing. The appeal went to third base, which was no occupied by an umpire. The second-base umpire, clearly in no position to determine whether or not it was a swing, ruled it a check. It was the wrong call, and Manuel was tossed extremely quickly.

More crucial a mistake, in the top of the seventh with the Phillies holding onto a one run lead, the umpires butchered two calls. With Shane Victorino on second base and one-out, Carlos Ruiz ripped a ball down the third-base line, over the bag and fair. Victorino was coming in to score easily. Only problem: the umpire called it a foul ball. Victorino then took off for third and stole the base. Only problem: the umpire called him out. He was clearly safe. Ruiz followed with a base-hit to right, which once again should have been an RBI hit, but two bad calls cost the Phillies a run and eventually the game.

The Nationals rallied to tie the game in the eighth, as Chad Qualls was once again unable to hold a lead. After a single, a sac bunt and an intentional walk, Jesus Flores doubled Chad Tracy home to tie the score. The game would remain tied, until Wilson Ramos came up with a two-out, bases loaded single in the 11th off Michael Schwimer to end the game.

The Phillies had gotten to Stephen Strasburg, touching him up for three runs over six innings on a two-run home run from Hunter Pence and a solo shot from the red-hot Ruiz. Strasburg stood to take his first loss of the season when he exited the ballgame.

Meanwhile, Kyle Kendrick pitched a great game and deserved the win. He allowed just one run on seven hits, two walks and two strikeouts over five innings. He allowed a solo shot to Tracy in the fourth.

The Phillies got some good news today. They expect Cliff Lee to return on Wednesday against the Mets.

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