Dan Haren made his first pitching appearance from his trip to the DL against the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. Haren didn’t pitch badly, only giving up two runs. However, former Nat John Lannan was better, throwing eight shut out innings.
As a Nationals fan, you had to expect Lannan to have this type of pitching performance against his former team at least once. Just like he did in his two spot starts last year, he came out with something to prove and the result was Lannan at his best–lots of ground ball outs and short fly balls.
Haren’s first inning was rocky. Leadoff hitter Ben Revere singled, as did Jimmy Rollins right behind him. The speedy duo pulled off a double steal, and the Phillies had two in scoring position with no outs. Chase Utley struck out, but Domonic Brown singled to score Revere and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Haren walked Michael Young. Delmon Young struck out. The bases were loaded with two outs. Haren then walked Darin Ruf, who is playing in place of the injured Ryan Howard. Carlos Ruiz flew out to end the inning. Haren had faced eight batters and given up two runs.
However, Haren buckled down and lasted five innings without giving up any more runs. He danced in and out of trouble at times, but did not give in to the Phillies hitters, getting outs when he needed them with runners on.
The Nationals had their best chance against Lannan in the fourth inning. After Ian Desmond was out, Bryce Harper walked. Harper then was thrown out trying to steal second when he should have easily gotten to second. He slowed down and cruised into second rather than running full out all the way. Ruiz had no trouble getting the out. Ryan Zimmerman singled up the middle and Jayson Werth walked. Instead of bases loaded and one out, the Nats had two on and two out for Adam LaRoche, who grounded out. LaRoche, who started the game 0-12 against Lannan, ended the night 0-15 against him. (Maybe he should have had tonights game off too…)
Fernando Abad pitched the sixth inning for the Nationals and gave up another run, one that ended up being crucial for the Phillies. Abad got Lannan and Ruiz out, then gave up a double to Revere on a pitch up in the zone when he was ahead of him. Abad then did the exact same thing to Rollins, who singled in the speedy Revere. Utley ground out to end the inning, and the Phillies were ahead 3-0.
Ross Ohlendorf pitched two innings of scoreless relief, and the Nationals were down to their final three outs. Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies closer, pitched the ninth and the Nationals made it interesting. Harper singled. Zimmerman hit a double off the wall in deep center field. Werth then hit a deep fly ball to center field, a sacrifice fly which scored Harper. LaRoche hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Zimmerman. Chad Tracy was up with the chance to be the hero against Papelbon again, but Papelbon was not going to allow Tracy to homer against him again. Tracy ended up popping up to end the game.
Next Game: The Nationals play game two of their four game series against Philadelphia at Citizen’s Bank Park at 7:05 p.m. EST. Taylor Jordan (0-1, 2.70 ERA) will make his third major league start. Cole Hamels (3-11, 4.38 ERA) goes for the Phillies.