Forget the perfect season and World Series victory in 2008 for the Phillies. The most memorable image of Brad Lidge will always be him squatting on the mound with his head hung in shame as Albert Pujols admires the homerun he just sent over the train tracks in left. Brad Lidge has been a good closer for most of his career posting a 3.44 ERA in 600 innings pitched, but when it is all said and done or maybe even sooner people will remember him more for his failings than his successes.
This afternoon against the Marlins Lidge had another one of his failings. After getting ahead of Hanley Ramirez 0-2 Lidge was unable to throw another strike and ended up walking Ramirez in front of Logan Morrison who hit .247/.380/.427 with four homeruns in 108 plate appearances against the Washington Nationals coming into this afternoon’s contest, and it took him only two pitches from Brad Lidge to add a fifth.
Ramirez pumped his fist and signaled to the Marlins dugout as he rounded first but in the end it would be the Nats who would have the last laugh. After an uneventful bottom of the ninth and top of the tenth Ramos would lead of the Nats half of the tenth with a single. LaRoche in his first plate appearance of the afternoon after being double switched in would ground the ball to his counterpart Gaby Sanchez. Sanchez didn’t step on the first base bag and then rushed his throw to second. It sailed high and into center field and Ramos advanced to third with no outs.
That would bring Desmond to the plate. Earlier in the game Desmond crushed a homer over the Marlins bullpen for the first run of the afternoon. Desmond now found himself at the plate with the chance to be the hero. With the infield drawn in Desmond would foul off the first two pitches he saw with massive cuts before taking a ball. On the fourth pitch of the at bat Desmond drove the ball to center fielder Emilio Bonifacio. Ramos waited on third base as Bonifacio settled under Desmond’s drive and as soon as he caught it Ramos scampered home to score the winning run and give the Nats a 12-4 record on the season and 8-2 on the homestand.
Because of Lidge, Strasburg wasn’t able to come away with the victory but he was masterful once again. Pitching six shutout innings while scattering four hits and walk, and striking out six batters to bring his total on the season to 25 in 25 innings pitched. That is good enough to give Strasburg a 9.0 K/9 on the season which is a phenomenal number. An even more impressive number might be that Strasburg has allowed a total of three earned runs in his 25 innings pitched on the season which gives him a 1.08 ERA on the season.
As good as Strasburg was Anibal Sanchez may have been even better except for two pitches, one to Desmond and another to Werth, that both went for homeruns. Sanchez ended up pitching seven innings while giving up two runs on five hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.
The Nats will once again be going for a sweep in the final game of a series. They were unable to complete the sweep against the Reds or Astros but were able to win three in a row against both teams. After finishing up the series against the Marlins with Gio on the mound being opposed by Josh Johnson the Nats will fly out to San Diego and after an off day Monday will take on the Padres in a three game series.