The last time Nationals left-handed pitcher John Lannan faced Phillies right-handed pitcher Roy Halladay was September 27, 2010 at Nationals Park. That was the day the Phillies clinched their fourth consecutive National League East division title.
Jayson Werth went 3-for-5 against Lannan that night, hitting a solo home run and a two-RBI double.
In Wednesday’s game, Werth went 1-for-4 and scored a run against Halladay but that wasn’t enough to fend off Philadelphia during their 3-2 victory over Washington.
Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond contributed to the loss by committing two errors in the fourth inning, allowing the Phillies to score a run. He did, however, show a slight improvement in the leadoff role when he reached first by drawing a walk in the third inning. That’s a step up from Tuesday’s game when he went 0-for-5 and didn’t reach base as the leadoff hitter.
Manager Jim Riggleman was supportive of his shortstop after the game despite the evening’s performance. “You get such a great effort from him every day […] he just gives you such a great effort every day really [and] he gets charged with an error because there’s a collision.”
Lannan was on par with his performance last year and lasted six innings in this appearance as opposed to five and two-thirds innings in September. He threw 100 pitches (55 for strikes) and gave up six hits plus two earned runs. Lannan also threw three walks and three strikeouts.
Phillies second baseman Wilson Valdez and Halladay came around to score in the fifth giving Philadelphia a 3-0 lead.
The Nationals defense did turn three double plays behind Lannan, though, aiding the lefty’s effort. “We played pretty good baseball against a great pitcher and we hung in there with our bullpen,” Riggleman said.
Washington’s bullpen threw three scoreless innings and retired eight of the nine batters they faced, walking only Placido Polanco in the seventh.
“Lannan pitched around all that stuff that was happening. John did a great job, gave us a chance, the bullpen gave us a chance and we almost took advantage of it.”
It’s true. Washington did almost take advantage of it.
Halladay wasn’t pitching in a division title game but he was on the verge of a complete game shutout. Unfortunately for him, Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel messed that up by hitting a double to right-center field. Ankiel’s double was followed by a single through the hole at shortstop from Werth. Then, first baseman Adam LaRoche went down swinging on strikes for the first out of the inning but outfielder Laynce Nix and second baseman Danny Espinosa hit back-to-back RBI-singles.
Wednesday didn’t end in a shutout but Halladay got the win. Pinch hitter Matt Stairs and catcher Ivan Rodriguez both struck out looking and that sealed the game for Philadelphia.