PHILADELPHIA | The Nationals' 1-0 loss to the Phillies on Friday was the kind of game they've made a fairly consistent habit of losing lately, especially on the road. They've lost 16 of their last 23 one-run games, and dropped 15 straight by one run on the road.
Friday's loss squandered a solid performance from Jason Marquis - which is to say, the kind of game that was unprecedented for Marquis in a Nationals uniform,. He allowed a run in five innings, but the Nationals couldn't break through against Roy Halladay.
It's tough to pick awards from last night, because just about everyone who did something good in this game also did something bad - or missed a chance to put the Nationals over the top. But here they are:
Ian Desmond: You can debate this one, because of the shortstop's throwing error (though the ball should have probably been caught by Adam Dunn) or him getting doubled off second base in the seventh inning (though Jim Riggleman was fine with Desmond's decision to run). But he went 3-for-5 and nearly tied the game in the ninth, and showed quite a bit of the athleticism and poise that makes the Nationals willing to ride out the mistakes. I wrote more about Desmond's night here.
Jason Marquis: Again, you could put Marquis somewhere else - four walks and four hits in five innings isn't a terribly praiseworthy performance. But it was his best start of the year, and he did a nice job of pitching out of a couple jams he created. And with Jordan Zimmermann throwing five shutout innings at Syracuse, it was a good time for Marquis to show he belonged in the rotation.
Joel Peralta: The right-hander threw two perfect innings, keeping the Phillies within a run through the sixth and seventh innings. He continues to be a valuable addition to the bullpen, and did an impressive job in relief of Marquis on Friday.
Adam Dunn: It's not so much that Dunn should have had the double Raul Ibanez squeezed inside the first-base line in the third inning. It's that a first baseman with better range - or a quicker reaction - would have had it. As it was, the hit provided the Phillies' only run. If you're wondering why the Nationals haven't committed to a long-term deal with Dunn yet, this is probably the biggest reason. Dunn also struck out to end the game with Ian Desmond on second.
Roger Bernadina: The Nationals left 12 runners on base on Friday night, and Bernadina was responsible for five of them. He ended three innings with runners on base, grounding into a double play in the first inning and hitting a weak popup to short with runners on first and second in the third inning.
Michael Morse: With more playing time, Morse continues to struggle. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Friday night, and is hitting .155 in August, with as many strikeouts as hits and runs combined.
In Case You Missed It:
--Desmond took a high swing at a hanging slider from Brad Lidge in the ninth inning on the pitch he almost hit out of the park. "He threw me a hanging slider, and you don't take too many of those," Desmond said. When he hit it, Desmond flipped his bat exuberantly, and said he thought it had a chance to leave the park. But in the back of his mind, he was worried he put too much topspin on it to get it to leave the park. "If I was back on it just a little," Desmond said, "it would've gone."
--Ivan Rodriguez threw out Jayson Werth trying to steal second in the fifth inning in part because of a sinker that broke too far. Raul Ibanez took it for a ball, and Rodriguez had plenty of time and room to throw to second.
--Bernadina's slick running catch on Chase Utley's eighth-inning liner was tougher than it needed to be; as he'll occasionally do, Bernadina got a bad break on the ball and was forced to make a late chase for it.
1. With Jordan Zimmermann banging on the door, was Jason Marquis good enough on Friday night to keep himself in the rotation? What would you do with him?
2. What was the most disappointing moment on Friday for you? Was it Desmond getting doubled off second? Dunn's missed attempt at Ibanez's double? All the men left on base?
Leave your answers to the Talking Points in the comments section. Plenty more from Philly before Strasburg takes on the Phillies tonight.