If there is a silver lining to pull from last night’s debacle, it’s that Joe Blanton saved the Washington Nationals’ bullpen with his three pristine innings of work on the mound in the middle of what ended up a brutal 17-3 slog of a loss in Citizens Bank Park.
Blanton slowed the Phillies’ roll, and in doing so saved the Nationals and skipper Dusty Baker from a true disaster of a game which saw Trea Turner injured in the top of the first inning, before Jeremy Guthrie’s nightmare outing even began.
“I told you before the game that we were kind of short down there in the bullpen, but thank god for Joe Blanton,” Baker said after the loss.
“He gave us three innings, he didn’t throw that many pitches for three innings and he saved our bullpen tonight, because we really didn’t have — two or three guys [were] down in the bullpen, we were trying to stay away from, especially this early in the season.”
Baker empathized with his starter, who’d put in a lot of work over the last few years to fight his way back to the majors for the first time since September of 2015.
Guthrie, who turned 38 yesterday, never made it out of the first inning, however, giving up six hits, four walks and 10 earned runs in a 47-pitch, 25-strike outing.
Twelve batters and just two outs into the first, Baker was forced to go to the mound and remove Guthrie.
“It was real hard,” Baker said. “But I had to do what I had to do for the team. But we were was trying to postpone it as long as I could, cause like I said, we were short. We didn’t have [Blake] Treinen, we didn’t have [Sammy] Solis, we didn’t have [Koda] Glover.
“In the middle of the season, it probably would have been — when guys arms are in tip-top shape and the weather is a little warmer, but that was exactly what we didn’t need tonight.”
Guthrie took it hard as well:
So disappointing to let this team down tonight.This opportunity meant more to me than most in my career.Get the series tomorrow boys. #Nats— Jeremy Guthrie (@TheRealJGuts) April 9, 2017
Baker talked afterwards about the helpless feeling of watching it all unfold and not being able to do anything about it.
“Really helpless,” he said, “you can’t feel any more helpless than that. It’s kind of like a nightmare inning and then one after another there were some real rockets hit tonight against us.”
There’s another game to play today, however, and the Nationals have to move past the lopsided loss.
“We have to write this one off,” Baker said.
“That was a bad loss. I mean, real bad. They were hitting — and there were a lot of balls right down the heart of the plate and if you don’t make quality pitches, then that’s what they do to them.”
We talked about the Nationals’ loss, Blanton’s bullpen saving effort and more on Nats Nightly after the game:
AUDIO: #Nats Nightly on the #Nationals' 17-3 loss to #GoPhils @WKubzansky's debut went better than Jeremy Guthrie's: https://t.co/O8aYG3pOc0— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) April 9, 2017