The Nationals stamped out the Phillies eight-game winning streak and spoiled Roy Oswalt's debut in a lopsided 8-1 affair Friday night. Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.85) and the Phillies look to even the score tonight at 7:05.
Beerleaguer: There's no way to sugarcoat Oswalt's first start. It stunk. Cliff Lee's debut this was not. The Nationals jumped all over Oswalt's mistakes early and often as the newly acquired right-hander hung pitch after pitch out over the plate. Chalk it up to nerves, but let's be honest here. He's going to get shellacked at a far greater frequency than someone like Lee or Halladay. Be that as it may, chances are that his next start will be terrific, and his next. So I wouldn't sweat it. Overall he allowed five runs (four earned), on seven hits, two walks with four strikeouts. Honestly, the entire team stunk last night. They couldn't solve sinkerballer Craig Stammen, who was quite good, and they butchered a couple of plays, including Carlos Ruiz's throw to nowhere that led to an unearned run. Charlie Manuel later revealed that Greg Dobbs was supposed to hold his ground and stay at third instead of charging. Not that it made much difference in the one-sided outcome.
Deadline nears: Meanwhile, we're keeping our eyes on the 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. After netting Oswalt, the prevailing wisdom is that the Phillies aLre done. Infield and bullpen help may be obtainable through the waiver trade period, but in my opinion, they would be well-served to obtain help for the back of the bullpen. It's possible they just don't have the money to do it.
Happ's debut: J.A. Happ tossed six shutout innings and held Milwaukee to an 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in his Houston debut.
Game chat: Blanton meets left-hander Ross Detwiler (0-1, 0.00) tonight. Keep your eye on Ryan Howard, who has started spinning the tires and is hitless in his last three games.