You try to avoid making long-term statements or predictions based off of one game, but the Phillies' inability to complete a sweep of the Nationals that they had in the bag was just another sign of how far this team has to go if it wants to contend.
The Phillies seemingly do this every week: Give you two days of optimism only to bring you back to earth a day or two later, making you wonder how you even talked yourself into them in the first place.
They needed this sweep. Yes, it's only June 20, but it's a two-game swing in the NL East and in the wild-card race with a team they'll need to move past to make any type of playoff run.
The Phils have swept just two of their 24 series this season, but those were against the Mets and Marlins. This one would have been much more impressive, even if the Nats are hurt and not hitting.
Jonathan Papelbon, who blew his second save of the series, criticized the Phillies' fundamentals, seemingly calling out Ryan Howard for his positioning on Denard Span's leadoff infield single. These are the things that happen when a team with great expectations flounders around .500 and can't put together any sort of momentum.
- Papelbon had been automatic up until this week, but the Nats got to him twice in three nights. He pitched in each game of the series.
- Delmon Young went 0-for-3 Wednesday and saw 10 pitches. He's hitting .222 with a .277 on-base percentage. Charlie Manuel admitted before the game that Young really needs to start hitting for the lineup to be balanced when Chase Utley returns.
- Speaking of the lineup, Manuel didn't seem to like the idea of batting Utley second and keeping Jimmy Rollins in the three-hole once he gets his full lineup on the field. Manuel wants to avoid putting three straight lefties together, and doesn't like the idea of having four of his first five hitters bat from the left side. Reading between the lines, it sounds as if the lineup might be: Rollins-Utley-M. Young-Howard-Brown-D. Young-Revere-Ruiz.
- Ryan Howard and Dom Brown went 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts Wednesday. The only NL team with a higher strikeout rate plus a lower walk rate against lefties is the Pirates. Additionally, the Phils' line drive rate vs. lefties ranks 27th in baseball.