A two-on, two-out opportunity in the eighth, with hard-throwing Philadelphia Phillies’ right-hander Yacksel Rios on the mound, seemed like an ideal time to have Daniel Murphy pinch hit, but Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez let Mark Reynolds (1 for 2, BB to that point in the game and 1 for his last 28 overall) take it and he grounded out for the third out in a row after Trea Turner (single) and Bryce Harper (walk) reached base in what was a one-run game, 3-2 in the Phils’ favor.
Murphy doubled in a two-out pinch hit appearance in the ninth, but was stranded one out later as the Phillies won their second game in the four-game series which wraps up this afternoon in the so-called City of Brotherly Love.
Martinez said he did consider Murphy hitting for Reynolds at that pivotal point in the eighth, but decided he couldn’t go to his veteran.
“Murphy was just an emergency guy,” he explained, “I didn’t want to put him in the field.
“So, he came up there and he hit a double, which was good, but he was just an emergency guy today. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, but he might not play tomorrow either.”
The issue, seemingly, was Murphy’s surgically-repaired knee, which cost him 65 games at the start of the season, and still appears to be a problem.
“We talked some things through,” Martinez explained, after telling reporters he was giving Murphy a little break last night.
“Just didn’t feel like he was getting on his legs a little bit. Today was better though. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Murphy’s availability was an issue last night, but the Nationals’ inability to take advantage of the fact that the Phillies’ starter, Vince Velasquez, was injured in the second and removed at that point, didn’t help either.
Philadelphia’s bullpen pieced together seven innings in which they gave up just four hits and one run, on a solo home run by Anthony Rendon. Martinez acknowledged he kind of expected them to score more runs against the relief corps, especially after Friday night’s offensive outburst.
“I thought we were going to score more than two runs after yesterday’s performance,” he said.
“We had our chances there later in the game, but when you get to the bullpen like that you expect to score a couple more runs.”
Will they score enough to earn split of the four-game set in Citizens Bank Park?
Some good news to start.
Murphy’s knee is apparently feeling good because he’s starting at second for the first time since returning.