Welcome to Citizens Bank Park South, Where The Phils Won 5-0

Welcome to Citizens Bank Park South, Where The Phils Won 5-0

WASHINGTON, DC -- This screen grab from tonight's Phillies vs. Nationals game in DC comes from none other than the Twitter account of Jayson Werth's Beard, who adds "I guess the smartest don't travel down here ;)"

I can't attest to the education levels of all the Philly fans that trekked down here this weekend, but I can say with 100% certainty there are a buttload of them and they were treated to a 5-0 Phillies victory on Saturday night. Holy crap, there are lots of Phillies fans here this weekend. And they are loud.

The sellout crowd and announced attendance of 44,685 was the most ever for a game at Nationals Park.

Tonight's winning pitcher, Roy Oswalt, commented that the crowd in DC was "pretty much like a smaller Philly."

After Roy Oswalt was missing from last night's affair, he was the man of the evening on Saturday night. Lil Roy set a personal best with the Phils by striking out 9 Nats in eight innings of shutout ball. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of his night was the heightened velocity on his fastball, which was consistently hitting 92-94 on the gun.

"I think mechanics is the best thing that happened tonight," Roy Oswalt said following the game. "I stayed back a lot better than I did times before, was rushing a little bit. It's coming back. It feels better and better everyday."

As Charlie Manuel said prior to Friday's game, when they get Oswalt pitching as well as he's capable of doing, this team truly has four aces -- a very rare thing in baseball.

When asked following the game what he thinks the Phillies formidable aces-stacked rotation could be like if he's on his game like he was tonight come the postseason, "It'll be interesting," Roy responded.

It sure will.

Oswalt's 9 Ks were the most he's had since June 10th, 2010, according to Todd Zolecki.

As for the strange two days for Oswalt after being scratched last night due to the lenghty rain delay, Roy took it in stride.

"It was the first time I started two games back to back," Oswalt said. "I told them they keep doing that they're going to have to pay me more."

If he keeps pitching like he did tonight, it could be worth it.

The Phillies showed their support for Roy in the fourth and sixth innings. A Wilson Valdez triple in the fourth with two men on put the Phils up 2-0 and a Hunter Pence homer in the sixth, coupled with some poor Nationals pitching that eventually lead to a two-run single by Jimmy Rollins to put the Phils up 5-0 after six.

Mike Stutes came in to finish off Oswalt's night in the ninth and got things done, 1-2-3 style. The only thing this night was missing was some Harry High Hopes on the jumbotron and the centerfield bell-ringing we love so much at Citizens Bank Park.

Roy Halladay goes for the series victory Sunday afternoon.

NBA Playoffs: Warriors sweep their way to 3rd straight NBA Finals

NBA Playoffs: Warriors sweep their way to 3rd straight NBA Finals


SAN ANTONIO -- Stephen Curry scored 36 points as the Golden State Warriors closed out the Western Conference Final against the injury-ravaged San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory Monday night, becoming the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12-0.

Golden State led by as many as 22 points in cruising to its third straight NBA Finals. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship matchup with Cleveland, which leads Boston 2-1 in the East finals.

"It's great to be one of the last two teams standing, we'll see how it goes," said Kevin Durant, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds.

San Antonio's only lead came on the opening possession when Manu Ginobili tossed in a left-handed scoop shot. The Spurs started Ginobili in what could be his final game with the team. The 39-year-old had maintained he will not ponder whether to retire or return until after the season.

Unsure if the beloved veteran will return, the crowd serenaded Ginobili with "Manu, Manu" chants as the game came to a close.

"An amazing competitor, even more fun playing against him," Durant said of Ginobili. "He was phenomenal this series."

Kyle Anderson scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who were without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and David Lee. San Antonio didn't go down without a fight despite the injuries.

Anderson dove on the court for a loose ball that the Spurs had tipped away defensively, pushing the ball upcourt to Patty Mills who fed Ginobili for a 3-pointer that pulled San Antonio to 108-94 with 7 minutes remaining.

The effort made Spurs coach Gregg Popovich smile and clap at times, but the Warriors' depth and talent proved too much for short-handed San Antonio.

Golden State shot 56 percent and were 14 for 39 on 3-pointers.

Draymond Green had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.

Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge closed out a disappointing series with his second eight-point effort against the Warriors.

Ginobili finished with 15 points in 32 minutes.

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home


The loudest noise made by the Phillies' offense on Monday night was the thud — clearly audible above the small crowd — that Odubel Herrera created when he smashed his batting helmet on the dirt infield after grounding out to third base to end the seventh inning.

Herrera's frustration spoke for an entire team. The Phillies were hammered, 8-1, by the Colorado Rockies (see Instant Replay). They were out-hit, 13-3. The loss was the Phils' 18th in the last 22 games and they have been outscored 126-89 over that span.

The loss left the Phils at 15-27 for the season, matching their worst 42-game start since 2000 when they finished 65-97 in front of tiny crowds at Veterans Stadium in Terry Francona's last season as skipper.

Over the last two games, both losses, the Phils have just six hits.

"Three hits today, three hits yesterday," manager Pete Mackanin said. "You're not going to win a lot of games getting three hits."

Aaron Altherr had two of the Phillies' hits, both doubles against Colorado rookie Jeff Hoffman, who was very impressive with seven walk-free innings and seven strikeouts.

Herrera went hitless in three at-bats and is hitting just .200 in the month of May and .232 overall — not what the front office expected when it signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension in the offseason.

"It's very frustrating because I feel like I am being selective and waiting for my pitch, but when I make contact things don't happen," Herrera said. "I feel like I'm swinging the bat well, but I'm just missing."

Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff gave up nine hits, seven of which were singles, and four runs over six innings. Four of the hits that Eickhoff allowed came in the third inning when the Rockies scored three times. Two of the runs scored on a flare double and the other on a groundball through a drawn-in infield.

"I executed a lot of good pitches," Eickhoff said. "I got a lot of the contact I wanted. The ball just didn't land in the gloves."

Eickhoff did not walk a batter. He struck out four.

Despite being 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA in nine starts, the right-hander believes he has made strides his last two outings. He gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings in his previous outing at Texas. Prior to that start, he worked on fixing a mechanical flaw in his delivery.

"These past two have been night-and-day different," he said. "I felt great today and in Texas and I'm going to keep that positivity going."

Finding other things to be positive about with this team is becoming difficult.

This Phillies team was not expected to contend; it is still in a rebuild. But things weren't supposed to be this bad, either.

"I'll tell you what, I'm getting frustrated, too," general manager Matt Klentak said before the game. "This team is better … there is more talent on this team than we've shown in terms of our record.

"We'll pull out of it. We will. That's what talented players will do. I'm not going to tell the fans they shouldn't be frustrated. We've gone through a tough stretch.

"But I'm not ready to call it regression. I think there's been a lack of consistency on our team in general, with some players more than others. There's been a lack of consistency, but especially for young players, two months is a relatively small sample size to categorize it as regression."

At 29-17, the Rockies have the best record in the National League. They have 16 road wins, which is one more than the Phillies have overall. The Rockies are in town for three more days. This ugly start could get even uglier.