If you didn’t watch the Phillies on Wednesday night and heard that Roy Halladay went six innings and left with a 2-1 lead, you would probably think Doc was on his game.
In six innings, Halladay walked five batters, hit two and threw 49 pitches in his first two frames, but found a way to toss six innings of one-run ball. However, the Phils couldn't hold a 2-1 lead after Halladay's exit and fell to the Nationals, 3-2.
But back to Halladay.
If any pitcher were to survive five walks and two hit-batters, it would be Halladay. The 6-foot-6 righty will grind and grit through innings as well as anyone, and he did that on Wednesday.
Halladay wiggled out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the first inning by permitting just one run on a sac fly. He left two stranded in the second and three in the sixth. He endured six innings by retiring nine of 10 batters from the third through the fifth to finish his outing with 99 pitches (57 strikes, 42 balls) and five strikeouts.
Nevertheless, Halladay's command has been far too anomalous for comfort, which is something to keep a close eye on over the final month.
As for the bullpen, Washington (71-68) tied the game in the seventh inning on a solo homer by Ryan Zimmerman off Zach Miner. In the eighth, Jake Diekman walked the leadoff man who then scored on the combination of a sacrifice bunt, stolen base and fielder’s choice. Prior to Wednesday, Diekman had thrown 10 straight scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts and one walk.
Chase Utley nearly tied the game in the eighth by busting home on a wild pitch but was tagged out by diving catcher Jhonatan Solano just before the second baseman's fingertips reached the plate.
With the loss, the Phillies drop to 63-77.
• Halladay made his 100th start in a Phils uniform and pitched his 70th quality start with the club.
• Cesar Hernandez certainly looks like a future big-league leadoff hitter. He’s smart, disciplined and understands situations. On Monday, the 23-year-old turned a 1-2 count into a leadoff walk to jumpstart the Phillies' eighth-inning, two-run rally in the team's 3-2 win over the Nationals. On Wednesday, he worked a nine-pitch walk to lead off the game and finished 2 for 3 while knocking in the Phils' only runs.
• Jimmy Rollins is 4 for his last 34 (.118)
• Darin Ruf is 3 for his last 28 (.107) with 14 strikeouts
• Cody Asche has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, a stretch in which he’s batting .386. Since his 1-for-17 start to the season, Asche is hitting .321.
The Phillies welcome the MLB-leading Braves (85-54) to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game series this weekend. Here are the probable pitching matchups:
Friday — LH Mike Minor (13-5, 3.08) vs. LH Cliff Lee (11-6, 3.09)
Saturday — LH Alex Wood (3-3, 3.15) vs. RH Kyle Kendrick (10-12, 4.51)
Sunday — LH Paul Maholm (10-10, 4.41) vs. LH Cole Hamels (6-13, 3.50)