This was the tale of two different weekend series. The Phillies could not create the same magic against the Washington Nationals as they did last weekend. What appears newsworthy is not the fact that the Phillies lost three of four to the Nats, but the lineup demotion of Ryan Howard.
Friday night was a one-sided affair as Max Scherzer dominated the Phillies and starter Sean O’Sullivan, 7-2. O’Sullivan labored over five innings, allowing four runs over five hits. Scherzer, on the other hand, was in complete control as he pitched eight innings of one-run baseball. He struck out nine and gave up four hits. The Phillies bullpen, which has been a strong spot this season, showed weakness as they allowed three additional runs. Diekman’s struggles continued as he saw her ERA rise to 13.50. More notably, Ryne Sandberg stirred things up and had Ryan Howard bat seventh in the lineup. This was the first time Howard dropped to the seventh spot since April 21, 2006.
On Saturday the Phillies saw the win column for the first time since last Saturday, as they saw their six-game losing streak come to a stop with a 5-3 victory over the Nationals. Harang put together yet another solid start, pitching six innings while only giving up three runs. The offense was once again led by the hot bat of Odubel Herrera. Howard spent his second game in the seven spot, going 0-2 with a walk before being replaced by Ben Revere as a pinch runner.
Sunday saw Howard rise back to the fifth spot in the lineup as the Phillies fell once again to the Nats, 4-1. David Buchanan, though looking much stronger, took the loss giving up three runs over six innings pitched. The once again dormant offense was only able to muster up one run against Washington’s ace Stephen Strasburg in 7.1 innings.
The Phillies have an off day tomorrow and return to Citizens Bank Park Tuesday to face the Miami Marlins at 7:05 PM. The Phillies this season are 3-3 at home.