Roy Halladay is just impossible to figure out right now. He came off the disabled list nearly two weeks ago, pitched great, then got hit around in his last start this past weekend. Tonight's start was somewhere in between, as Halladay allowed just one run to the Nationals over six innings, but Washington was able to get to the Phillies' bullpen in the end and pull out a 3-2 victory following a strong outing by starter Jordan Zimmerman, and aided by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and second baseman Steve Lombardozzi.
Washington jumped on Roy Halladay in the first inning for a run, coming off an Adam LaRoche sacrifice fly after Halladay walked three batters. The Phillies responded in the second inning, with tonight's leadoff man, Cesar Hernandez, lacing a double to drive in two runs in the second inning. Hernandez has been playing with a renewed energy in the two games since he was brought up as part of September call-ups. Tonight, he would go 2-3 with the aforementioned double and 2 RBI's. Unfortunately, this is all of the offense that the Phillies would see this evening, as Jordan Zimmerman was solid the rest of the way, and picked up his 16th win of the season for the Nationals.
Halladay would go on to retire 12 out of 13 batters as the game carried on, before getting into a jam in the 6th inning. Halladay would get out of the jam, and would be lifted from the game after six innings pitched, three hits, one run, a total of five walks, and five strikeouts. For just the tenth time in his career, Halladay hit two batters in a game. Combined with his five walks tonight, it is hard to really accurately assess his progress. This could very well mean that other teams are not willing to take a risk on Halladay in the offseason, which may keep him on the Phillies for 2014 and beyond.
As the game moved into the seventh inning, the Phillies held a 2-1 lead. This was until Ryan Zimmerman stepped in against Zach Miner and hit his 17th home run of the year, and his second in two nights to tie the game. The bullpens would battle, and Washington would keep the Phillies off the board with some incredible defense, including Chase Utley being tagged out at the plate on a close play.
In the eighth inning, the Nationals went in front off of the hot Jake Diekman on a Steve Lombardozzi fielder's choice. Washington would go on to win the last of this three game series by a score of 3-2. This moves the Nationals to 71-68, 7 games out of the final Wild Card spot in the National League. The Phillies fall to 63-77.
While these games matter much less in the standings to the Phillies than they do to the Nationals, it is always an event to watch Roy Halladay pitch these days. Halladay's command was clearly not there tonight, but it's hard to look past him allowing just three hits and one run. He is very hard to gauge as a pitcher, and will surely benefit from months of rest before next season. But the question remains, will Halladay begin 2014 in a Phillies uniform? And if so, how much of a positive impact could he have on the team next season?
For now, the Phillies get their first off day in weeks tomorrow, before beginning a 3-game series against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves at home. The day off will give injured players, such as Domonic Brown, a chance to rest before the upcoming series. Brown, yet again, was held out of the lineup tonight with a sore Achilles.
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