For most of the day, the fans in South Philly were a quiet bunch. Perhaps they were tired from being up late watching the marathon game Wednesday night, or perhaps it was due to the odd 3:05 start time and they weren't as socially lubricated with Budweisers as they typically would be. Either way, the calm crowd finally livened up a bit in the bottom of the ninth when Shane Victorino started things with a leadoff homer to bring the Phils to within two runs.
Polanco then singled to bring the tying run to the plate. With Kashmir blasting over the PA system, Chase Utley stepped in to really wake the place up. Unfortunately, Utley struck out looking and Howard popped up weekly to left for two outs. Jayson Werth's beard couldn't be the hero and the ball park never erupted in come-from-behind-in-the-ninth-joy this afternoon. The Phillies lost their second game of the season with a final of 7-5.
This loss was much more frustrating than their first of the season due to the fact that they had the lead late in the game today before Dannys Baez squandered a two run lead in the seventh to allow the Nats to go ahead for good. The Phils bullpen had pitched 29.1 consecutive innings this season without giving up a homer until Baez did so in the seventh. Ryan Madson didn't help the cause by giving up a pair of runs of his own
in the ninth.
While JA Happ still hasn't allowed an earned run this season, his six walks today had the Nationals in scoring position all afternoon. After the loss Charlie Manuel said Happ "battled" but added he's better than he threw today.
What the Phillies really need is a starter other than Halladay to pitch deep into a game. As we saw tonight, a bullpen can only stay remarkable for so long.
Having faced the Nationals for six of their first nine games, when asked how Manuel felt about a tougher schedule coming up, Manuel didn't disappoint. "Bring 'em on, I guess."
The Phils will take on the Marlins tomorrow at CBP with Roy Halladay on the mound.