While the reigning five-time NL East champs had long been accustomed to bettering their club with pre-deadline trades over the past few years, they found themselves on the opposite end of those deals this time around.
Despite having all but given up on their season, the last-place Philadelphia Phillies don't appear ready to go down without a fight.Visiting Philadelphia tries to build on its series-opening win Wednesday night against the division-leading Washington Nationals.The Phillies (46-57) proved plenty busy Tuesday afternoon, sending All-Star outfielders Hunter Pence to San Francisco and impending free agent Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers in separate deals. Philadelphia received reliever Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher Ethan Martin in exchange for Victorino, and outfielder Nate Schierholtz, minor league catcher Tommy Joseph and minor league pitcher Seth Rosin for Pence."We're going to miss who they are and everything like that," manager Charlie Manuel said. "But also, I think where we are and where we want to go, we've got to do some things and we've definitely got to try some things to get better.""When you're in last place, you can try any damn thing. If you want to try something, why not? You don't have nothing to lose."The Phillies certainly played like it Tuesday, defeating the Nationals 8-0 behind seven strong innings from Cliff Lee and Jimmy Rollins' two-run, inside-the-park homer off Stephen Strasburg. Kevin Frandsen also went deep for Philadelphia, which has posted back-to-back wins over Washington following a 3-13 skid in the series.Despite Tuesday's result, the Phillies still sit 15 1/2 games behind the Nationals (61-41) and in the bottom half of the wild-card standings."Obviously, nobody is happy with the way this year has gone," Lee said. "No one's giving up. No one's folded yet. So, it's game on."Washington, meanwhile, entered Tuesday having won eight of nine but managed just four singles and a double in the loss, going 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals were without two of their best hitters in Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, who were both dealing with minor back injuries. It's uncertain if either will be available in this game.Washington will try to get back on track behind Edwin Jackson (6-6, 3.52 ERA), who's been sharp in his last two starts. The right-hander struck out a season best-tying nine over seven innings of one-run ball during a 4-0 loss to Atlanta on July 21, then scattered eight hits over seven scoreless innings Thursday in an 8-2 victory at Milwaukee."Our guy was just spectacular," manager Davey Johnson said. "A couple little jams and he pitched out of them. He's been pitching great all year."Jackson is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies, both of which have come on the road. He allowed three runs over seven innings during a 4-1 defeat May 23.Jackson will be opposed by Vance Worley (5-6, 3.88), who gave up three runs and 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings in last Wednesday's 7-6, 10-inning win over the Brewers. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 6.43 ERA in his last five starts, during which opponents are hitting .353 against him.In his only career appearance in the nation's capital, Worley was tagged for five runs and 11 hits over six innings of a 7-1 loss May 5.
The Nationals are on pace to score nearly 700 runs this season after seeing their scoring drop for 2 straight seasons. But it's the pitching that is making the difference in D.C. Their ERA has improved for the third straight season and their win total has gone right with it. They're on pace for 97 wins, which would be the most in franchise history.