(SportsNetwork.com) – After struggling to put the ball in play in their
season-opening series, things won’t get any easier for the Philadelphia
Phillies against a loaded Washington Nationals rotation.
The Phillies try to get their offense going on Friday night when they kick off
a three-game set against Gio Gonzalez and the Nats.
Philadelphia hit just .149 in dropping two of three to the Boston Red Sox. The
Phillies picked up just two extra-base hits, a Ryan Howard double and a three-
run homer by Jeff Francoeur.
Pitching behind a struggling offense, David Buchanan didn’t make it out of the
third inning in Thursday’s 6-2 loss, giving up all six runs in the third
inning while allowing a total of seven hits and four walks in the outing.
Buchanan flirted with trouble in the first and second innings, allowing a pair
of base runners in each, before imploding in the third.
“His command just seemed to be off right from the get-go,” said Phillies
manager Ryne Sandberg. “He was missing off the plate.”
Freddy Galvis scored on a wild pitch and Chase Utley had a run-scoring single
in a two-run third inning for the Phillies.
Gonzalez will try to keep the Philadelphia offense in check again tonight and
build off his strong finish to the 2014 season.
The left-hander was slowed early last year by a shoulder injury and went 10-10
with a 3.57 earned run average in 27 starts, but was 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA in
five September starts.
Gonzalez, a 21-game winner in 2012, is 6-4 lifetime versus the Phillies with a
Slotting into a rotation that also includes Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Stephen
Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, manager Matt Williams opted to save the 29-
year-old Gonzalez for this series in part because the Phillies’ lineup
features a number of left-handed hitters.
Washington, though, lost two of three to the New York Mets to begin the series
as some shaky defense cost the Nats. Shortstop Ian Desmond committed three
errors in the series that led to six unearned runs.
Desmond’s miscue in the third inning of Thursday’s 6-3 setback helped key a
four-run frame for the Mets. Strasburg took the loss, charged with six runs —
three earned — on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Michael Taylor had a two-run double in the seventh inning and Reed Johnson
drove in a run with a single in the ninth for the Nats.
Washington looks to rebound tonight against right-hander Jerome Williams, who
pitched for Houston, Texas and Philadelphia last season. The veteran found
some late success with the Phillies to close out the campaign, going 4-2 with
a 2.83 ERA in nine starts to earn a new contract.
Williams, though, went 0-4 with a 7.40 ERA in six games (5 starts) this spring
and the 33-year-old is 0-1 lifetime versus the Nats with a 4.58 ERA in four
games (3 starts).
The Phillies went 10-9 versus the Nationals last season, winning six of nine