Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Listless Phillies blanked by Nationals, 7-0

Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan. (Alex Brandon/AP) Gallery: Nationals 7, Phillies 0

WASHINGTON - With two runners on, two outs and another shutout loss hanging in the balance, Ben Revere jumped on a fastball from Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard, but the bouncing ball found a home in the waiting glove of shortstop Ian Desmond.

Desmond fired to first and the Phillies lost their fourth straight game, 7-0, last night.

Jordan Zimmermann and Clippard combined to hand the Phillies their seventh shutout loss in their last 27 games. Less than a half-hour after making the last out, Revere dressed in a quiet clubhouse and couldn't hide a frustration that's been mounting with the team as a whole for the better part of the last month.

"I'm ticked-it's frustrating losing," Revere said. "It's not fun. It's never fun. I'm tired of it, and I know some of the other guys in here are, too."

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    Following a listless homestand that ended with the team dropping four of five games to the New York Mets, the Phils arrived in Washington and were greeted with a closed-door meeting with their manager for the second time in the last month. But it turned out, talk was cheap and the results were much of the same.

    Rookie righthander David Buchanan was roughed up by the Nationals' veteran lineup while the Phillies' offense fired blanks.

    Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI in his return to Washington's lineup from a broken thumb.

    Former Phillie Jayson Werth's two-run double off Buchanan in the third inning opened the scoring for the Nationals, who entered the day in front of the Phillies in fourth place in the National League East. Washington has played the majority of the season without both Zimmerman and Bryce Harper (torn thumb ligament).

    Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, threw eight shutout innings to stymie the Phillies' futile offense.

    The Phillies had only two hits in the first seven innings before exploding for three consecutive, two-out hits in the eighth. The inning ended, naturally, as Marlon Byrd bounced into a fielder's choice.

    "We weren't able to get anthing going offensively," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We were shut down by a good pitcher. He kind of set the tone for the game."

    The Phillies will face three more pretty good pitchers in the next three games: Stephen Strasburg (3.15 ERA) tonight, Doug Fister (3.34) tomorrow and Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto (1.68) on Friday.

    "We've got to battle," said Sandberg, who seemed at a loss for answers on what had to be one of his more trying days as a manager in his first full season on the job.

    The 25-year-old Buchanan's first major league start away from Citizens Bank Park was't pretty. After holding the Dodgers and Mets to a total of five earned runs in his first two big-league starts, Buchanan was touched up for seven runs on 10 hits.

    Buchanan served up two long home runs in his sixth and final inning. Desmond led off with a booming, solo blast, his 11th of the season, and Anthony Rendon launched a two-run shot later in the inning to cap the scoring.

    "You get into hitters' counts, leave the ball up and they started hitting it," he said. "So I tried to continue to battle. Unfortunately, the ball stayed up in the zone, and we got hit around."

    The Phillies (24-32) won their first two games after Sandberg's previous meeting, on May 9 in New York. But 2 days later, they lost, on the forgettable afternoon when Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable to pitch and they blew a chance to finish off a sweep at Citi Field.

    The Phillies have lost 14 of the 21 games they've played since that afternoon in Flushing.

    "We've got a long season ahead of us," Revere said. "We're going to turn this thing around, because we're not a bad team. We've got good talent in here. So we're just going to keep fighting."

    Bullpen moves

    The revolving door that is the Phillies' bullpen saw more work. Ethan Martin was recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley, while fellow righthander Phillippe Aumont was optioned to the IronPigs.

    Aumont's most recent stay in the big leagues lasted all of two games. He was charged with the loss in Sunday's 11-inning defeat to the New York Mets and served up a ninth-inning grand slam in Monday's 11-2 loss.

    Martin, a converted starter, was limited to one Grapefruit League game this spring after experiencing right shoulder inflammation. He began the season on the disabled list.

    Martin, who turns 25 on Friday, went 2-5 with a 6.08 ERA in 15 games with the Phillies last season, but had a 3.86 ERA with 11 strikeouts and four walks in seven appearances out of the bullpen. His velocity reportedly has been down in Lehigh Valley, which could be a result of having to build his arm back up following his spring shoulder woes.

    "He's just an added arm," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's healthy and he can help us."

    Martin threw two shutout innings in relief of Buchanan in his 2014 debut.

    Phillers

    Cody Asche (hamstring) will not return from the disabled list when he's eligible Saturday. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Asche just began to jog yesterday in Clearwater, Fla., where he has been rehabbing. Reid Brignac made his fifth straight start at third base in Asche's place. Cesar Hernandez had started seven straight at third before Brignac's current run . . . Jeremy Horst cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Lehigh Valley. Horst was removed from the 40-man roster on Sunday . . . The Phillies signed veteran righthander Jason Marquis to a minor league contract. He will report to extended spring training in Clearwater. Marquis, 35, has gone 121-114 with a 4.56 ERA in 14 big-league seasons with eight teams. He had Tommy John surgery last July.

    On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

    Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

    Ryan Lawrence Daily News Staff Writer
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