We’re headed into the ninth inning here at Nationals Park, and the Nationals are trailing the Phillies 3-0 in part because of the poor defense they played in the fourth inning and the hits John Lannan gave up in the fifth. But on a more basic level, they’re losing because they’ve been utterly dismantled by Roy Halladay.
The two-time Cy Young winner has shut down the Nationals’ undermanned lineup in a kind of inevitable fashion, holding them to just two hits and walking two batters. He’s mowing through the lineup with his cut fastball and breaking pitches, and he’s thrown 70 strikes in 101 pitches. As comfortable as he’s looked, and as shaky as the Phillies’ bullpen can be, it makes sense to send him back out for the ninth. He’s coming to bat in the bottom of the eighth, meaning he’s headed back out to try and finish his shutout.