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View Count: 26 |  Publish Date: September 04, 2013
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Phillies issue 9 walks in loss to Nationals
Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 3:01 AM
Two Phillies pitchers fired eight straight balls with the bases loaded, and that represented the nadir of Tuesday night. A rookie wearing No. 67 relieved them in the next inning, committed a balk, and surrendered two more runs. This is what September baseball looks like for the pitching staff with the National Leagues worst ERA.
Washington permitted four unearned runs to the Phillies and still won, 9-6, because the home team failed at the games most basic task of throwing strikes. The Phillies have a 4.28 ERA, which would mark their highest in a season since 2007.
Six Phillies pitchers threw 180 pitches. More were balls (92) than strikes (88). They walked nine hitters. Joe Savery and B.J. Rosenberg combined for the only walkless inning - the ninth - although Rosenberg allowed a batter to reach via a strikeout because of a wild pitch.
Starter Ethan Martin tired at the 60-pitch mark yet again. He walked five Nationals. The last one, a four-pitch free pass to Adam LaRoche, elicited boos at 8:36 p.m. from the 28,826 in attendance. Interim manager Ryne Sandberg emerged from the dugout to cheers. The crowd booed again at 8:41 when Justin De Fratus threw four straight balls to Wilson Ramos. It was a five-minute spell of wretched baseball.
More coveragePoll: Should the Phillies re-sign Roy Halladay?Follow the Phillies: Download our FREE Pro Baseball app!Forum: What record will the Phillies finish with?Latest Phillies videos Special section: Top 25 Phillies prospectsThe Phillies are 10-9 under Sandberg. He fielded a lineup Tuesday that included one player from the batting order in Game 1: John Mayberry Jr. Six of Tuesdays nine starters spent time at triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.
No one associated with the team will ever say it, but finishing among the 10 worst teams in baseball would not be a total loss. The top 10 draft picks are protected from free-agent compensation. The Phillies entered the day tied for the 11th-worst winning percentage.
The Phillies have money to spend this winter. They have holes. They could be quite active in the free-agent market. The bigger free-agent names will be offered arbitration by their current clubs to ensure draft-pick compensation.
These picks, especially in the top half of the first round, carry great value. Finding value through free agency is becoming a difficult exercise. Teams place a higher price on their prospects than ever before, making trades more complicated. The draft is where the Phillies built their success. It is the vehicle for replenishing talent.
Martin is a promising arm, but not without flaws. He has failed to pitch more than five innings in six of his seven starts. He appears destined for a bullpen role in 2014, although the Phillies have shown reluctance to make that transition before 2013 ends. Tyler Cloyd, who was a starter at triple-A Lehigh Valley, could slide into Martins spot.
Washington tried its hardest not to win. Kevin Frandsen batted in the ninth representing the tying run, but he bounced into a game-ending double play, and that was that.
Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @magelb.
Matt GelbInquirer Staff Writer #post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-reddit {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 60px !important;height: 20px !important;margin-right:8px;}#post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-email {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 71px !important;height: 28px !important;}2commentsReprints & Permissions »

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