The Philadelphia Phillies came to Nationals Park in last place, to play the first place Nationals on their home ground. Stephen Strasburg started for the Nats, and Cliff Lee started for the Phils. On this night, Lee pitched like the wily veteran that he is, and Strasburg threw like the young pitcher that he is. The result was a Phillies shut out of the Nats by the margin of 8-0.
The Phillies traded both Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence before the game. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche did not play for the Nats, both players out due to back soreness. Chad Tracy rejoined the Nats from his rehab assignment, and Corey Brown was sent back to Syracuse.
Strasburg struggled with a tight strike zone by the umpire and lack of control of his breaking ball. The Phillies hitters were aware that Stephen has been relying mostly on his fastball lately, and were sitting on that pitch during most of their at bats. When Strasburg did throw a different pitch, it was not usually close to the zone and fooling no one. Strasburg gave up six runs in four innings of work. Kevin Frandsen, added to the Philadelphia roster today, hit a two run homer off Strasburg in the second inning on a first pitch fastball. Juan Pierre added a run in the third inning after a single. He stole second, and scored when while stealing third, Flores threw the ball past Mark DeRosa at third for an error.
Strasburg ran into more trouble in the fourth inning. John Mayberry doubled, and was driven in on a single by Cliff Lee. Lee then stole second. Jimmy Rollins then hit an inside the park home run. The ball was hit to deep right field and bounced off the top of the fence. Bryce Harper tried to catch the ball and crashed into the fence. Roger Bernadina failed to back up the play, and by the time Harper recovered, got to the ball and threw it home, Rollins had crossed the plate.
Tom Gorzelanny replaced Strasburg in the fifth inning, and pitched three innings of scoreless relief, only throwing thirty-six pitches in the process. He probably could have gone longer, but his place in the batting order came up in the bottom of the seventh and Davey Johnson elected to pinch hit Tracy for Gorzelanny. Henry Rodriguez pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but ran into trouble in the ninth inning, allowing a single to Pierre and then walking Chase Utley. He got Ryan Howard to ground out, but both runners moved up. Johnson elected to go with Drew Storen to get the final two outs. Storen got Carlos Ruiz to ground out, but Pierre scored from third. Laynce Nix scored Utley on a single, and John Mayberry grounded out to end the inning.
The Nats went 1-5 with runners in scoring position. The Phillies went 4-11. The Nationals recent ability to get timely hits deserted them for this game, probably due to the solid seven innings pitched by Lee.
Champ of the Game: Tom Gorzelanny pitched three shutout innings in relief of Strasburg’s early exit. He gave the Nats a chance to get back into the game and saved the bullpen. For the Phillies, Juan Pierre went 3-5, and scored a run with effective base stealing.
Chump of the Game: For the Nationals, there are plenty of candidates. DeRosa went 0-4 with four strikeouts. Harper, Espinosa, and Moore all went 0-4 and all three made outs in the bottom of the third when Strasburg lead off with a single and Lombardozzi followed with another single. The Nats went from two on, nobody out to out of the inning after Harper, Espinosa and Moore all failed to deliver. Collectively they are the Chumps of the Game for the Nats.
Unsung Hero: Steve Lombardozzi. He drew a walk in his first at bat against Lee, and had a hit off him also. He made several good plays at second. He had a solid day.