It's a shame the Phillies departed Washington right as business was picking up, but we'll be seeing the Nationals again soon enough -- in two weeks at Citizens Bank Park to be exact. Until then, perhaps the Fightins can channel the intensity they fostered in the series finale as they pick up where they left off against another division rival.
The New York Mets (15-13) are in town, and sitting three games back of first place in the NL East, they are actually entertaining thoughts of hanging in the pennant race. Of course, it doesn't hurt their cause when the last-place Phils (14-15) -- long the Mets' foil -- are just trying to keep their heads above water.
Either way, we know Roy Halladay doesn't need the extra motivation.
Halladay (3-2) suffered a collapse of epic proportions in his last start against the Braves on May 2. His eight earned runs allowed over 5.1 innings bumped his ERA for the season from 1.95 to 3.40, and in blowing a six-run lead, Doc's mates lost for just the ninth time in his 15-year career when he was handed a lead of four or more.
Simply put, Roy Halladay is not going to stand for those types of outings from Roy Halladay.
After hanging nine runs on the Nats on Sunday night, the Phillies' offense will try to keep the momentum going against lefthander Jon Niese. Niese is 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 2012, one of his wins coming at Philadelphia's expense. The 25 year old pitched 6.2 frames of shutout ball in a 5-0 victory on a warm Saturday afternoon at CBP back in April.
Niese had a terrible time in his last go, allowing five earned and two home runs over three to pick up a loss against the Astros. He is 4-4 with a 3.58 ERA liftime in nine appearances against the Phils, and some of the righthanded bats have had success against Niese, including John Mayberry (2 HR), Placido Polanco (.462 OBP, 6 RBI), Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino (5 hits each).
New York took two of three in their weekend series last month, and have been playing the NL East tough. The Phils need to treat this like the rivalry it is.
Rollins 6, Mayberry 7, Victorino 8, Pence 9, Wigginton 3, Ruiz 2,
Polanco 5, Galvis 4, Halladay 1
— Matt Gelb (@magelb)
HAMELS SUSPENDED FIVE GAMES
It didn't take long for the fallout to come down for bean ball-gate. Cole Hamels received a five-game suspension for throwing at Nats phenom Bryce Harmer, and subsequently admitting he did so on purpose.
The ban, which begins tonight, essentially amounts to one start, but several are already theorizing Cole's next scheduled outing could be pushed back one day to Sunday, with Halladay taking the ball on Saturday instead. The Phillies are off on Thursday, so Doc will be rested.
Agree or disagree with the decision to come down on Hamels, it does not appear it will come back to bite the Phillies.