The Phillies received a capitol punishment at the hands of Washington Saturday and have lost nine of their last 11 meetings with the Nationals dating back to last season.
Beerleaguer: The Nats haven't won anything yet, but they're making believers out of Beerleaguer, the baseball world, and most importantly, themselves. From the postgame interviews: “I think everybody recognizes we’re for real,” said Nats first baseman Chad Tracy. “We know it. Now it’s just a matter of everyone else knowing it.” From manager Davey Johnson: “I think all we’re doing right now is reassuring that we can play with them (the Phillies).” Eighteen wins puts them 5.5 games ahead of the 13-15 Phillies, who fell to the National League East cellar once again since the rest of the division won Saturday. The Nats are 1.5 games in front of Atlanta.
That said, the Phils can salvage a 3-3 road trip tonight in prime time if Cole Hamels can outduel Jordan Zimmerman and if the offense can get back on track. The Phils also went 5-5 in their West Coast jaunt. They're 8-10 on the road and 5-5 at home. All anyone can ask is that they hover around .500, get healthy and stay healthy. Cliff Lee is due back Wednesday, and Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are reportedly making strides, specifically Utley. They're historically strong finishers, something the rest of the division knows nothing about .... yet.