It was an interesting atmosphere that was created over the weekend at Nationals Park. With the Phillies coming to town the Nationals promoted the motto it is our park and did their best to limit the selling of tickets to Phillies fans. This is in stark contrast to what Lerner had been promoting a couple years ago when he was criticized for welcoming Phillies fans to the new stadium. After all, their green is just as spendable as the Nats green. If they really wanted Nats fans at the park, they would have distributed two Phillies games to those with a 40 game ticket package rather than distributing three Astros tickets for the four game series.
It was a gangland atmosphere adult style for the three game series. If I’m a Phillie fan I wouldn’t have felt too welcome at Nationals park. With Wolf Blitzer and other minor celebrities telling fans to take back Nats park it had to be a bit uncomfortable for Phillies fans. It was probably more uncomfortable for them to sit through a 7-1 spanking today, beaten by two players who they once had called their own.
Of course, there is no way I would be walking into the Phillies park adorned in my Nationals jersey for fear of my life. While Obnoxious Phillie’s Philly fans are in the minority one would think they would eventually be eliminated based on Darin’s Theory of Evolution. That becomes difficult as Philly fans promote them like t-shirt day on a Tuesday. It only propagates more. Now the Nationals are doing the same, but they still have a fan base that does not fill their park.
Gio Gonzalez fired seven innings of one run ball. He also started the rally in the fifth with a double in the gap, over the head of the shallow Shane Victorino in center. Many won’t remember that he was an ex-Philly because he never really played for the major league team. The White Sox traded him to the Phillies after the 2005 season. He played one year for the Reading Phillies and they traded him back to the White Sox after the 2006 season.
The other ex-Phillie that contributed to their loss today that really had to stick in their gut after they were chanting Jayson Werthless earlier in the game was Jayson Werth. After Gio Gonzalez led off the fourth with a double he advanced to third on a ground out by Ian Desmond. The hot hitting Steve Lombardozzi (3 for 4 today) walked and the anxious Bryce Harper flew out to shallow left field for the second out. Jayson Werth then launched one into the Phillies bullpen for a 3-run homer.
The scoring did not end there. Chad Tracy and Danny Espinosa hit back to back singles and Rick Ankiel ripped a double that landed on the right field line, his third hit of the game. Tracy scored but Espinosa was thrown out easily at home.
The Phillies scored first, getting their only run in the fourth. Shane Victorino led the inning off with a double, advanced to third on a deep fly to center and scored on a fly ball to very shallow right. The throw from Jayson Werth to Wilson Ramos easily beat Victorino to the plate, but Ramos dropped the ball, a malady he has been prone to in the early season action. That, and throwing to second on the bounce on a stolen base attempt.
Ian Desmond crushed a ball to the deepest part of the park with two out in the fifth and Chad Tracy lifted one into the right field bleachers in the seventh where most of the Phillies fans had congregated but had now departed by this time. The Nationals finished the game with 15 hits.
Game Notes: Steve Lombardozzi continues with the hot bat. He had his second straight 3-hit game to raise his average to .333. He has been playing third while Ryan Zimmerman recuperates on the disabled list, but once Ryan returns expect Steve to move to second base…Danny Espinosa only got one hit to put his average at .200. His swings and misses have left him with 33 strikeouts. Only Adam Dunn (40 whiffs) has struck out more than Danny. He fears a trip back to the minors. In this game you make your own bed. As the saying goes, it is tough to make it to the major leagues, but it is even tougher to stay there if you don’t continue to work on your craft. Danny needs to work on the swings and misses…The Phillies never threw anything harder than 80 miles per hour on Bryce Harper. It appears that pitchers will take advantage of his aggressive approach at the plate and feed him nothing but slow stuff. It worked today as he was one of two starters that did not contribute to any of the Nationals 15 hits. Wilson Ramos was the other hitless National…Bryce Harper looked like he gave up too soon on a ball hit over his head. It appeared that if he continued running on the ball to get in position to reach up to catch the ball he would have snared a Jimmie Rollins double. Instead he stopped to play the ball against the wall and it bounced on the warning track…That Phillie lineup with Carlos Ruiz hitting fifth does not look very imposing. Granted, he was the only Phillie in the lineup batting over .300, but it still is weak…Philly fans can complain about having to play this series without the services of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, two of their big offensive contributers. The Nationals are playing this series without their two big bats, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche. Zimmerman is on the DL with a tender shoulder while Laroche has a minor muscle pull. Both should be available Tuesday for the Pirates.a8a