The Phillies bullpen, one of the many strengths on this team, looked very shaky in this weekend series vs the Washington Nationals. In game 1 the Phils had the game in hand, 2 run lead for Ryan Madson going into the 9th, game over right? Wrong, Madson struggled and Ryan Zimmerman blasted a walk off grand slam off the Phils closer. The Phillies rebounded in the second game of the series picking up a 5-0 behind the strong start from Roy Oswalt. Today....well it wasn't pretty. Roy Halladay allowed 2 first inning runs but was great the rest of the way, which unfortunately wasn't long. The rains came in the 6th. The Phillies offense wasn't at it's best today, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley provided most of the offense, Ruiz with a 2 run shot, and Utley with a solo blast.
After the rain delay Michael Schwimmer made his MLB debut and was given a rude welcome. 2nd pitch of his MLB career was jacked into the seats by Nats 2nd baseman Danny Espinosa. Shwim settled down the rest of the way and pitched 3 strong innings. The score stayed tied till the 9th when Michael Martinez singled up the middle to give the Phils the lead. Antonio Bastardo came on for the save, then the imploding began. Bastardo had 2 quick outs, then allowed a homer by Nats shortstop Ian Desmond. The game went to the 10th where Brad Lidge came on to send it to the 11th. Lidge loaded the bases, then hit Jonny Gomes and that's all she wrote.
Now while the Phillies still have a dominating lead in the NL East, I can't help but feel a bit pissed off about this series. This is the Washington Nationals we're talking about, yeah they're doing better than in years past, but it's the Nationals, and you had this series wrapped up, no excuses for the bullpen blowing an easy sweep like we could have had this weekend. The bullpen has been surprisingly great this year, hopefully they'll put this series behind them and get things going again.
Tommorow the Phillies go up against our friends from Flushing, the New York Mets. The Phils send Cliff Lee, Vance Worley, and Kyle Kendrick out for this series. This might not seem like a huge series, but it'd be nice if the Phils could maybe sweep this series with NY. As the team with the best record in baseball, you have to take advantage of the lesser teams like the Mets. You didn't do that with Washington, so make up for it. Not to mention the Braves face the lowly Chicago Cubs next. LET'S GO PHILS!