Jayson Werth’s tiebreaking home run lifted the Phillies over the Nationals 5-4 on a night when half of Citizens Bank Park showed Jimmy Rollins that carrying last year’s playoff team on his back can’t buy their affection.
Werth smoked a hanging Steven Shell curveball into left-center for his 17th homer of the season, a new career-best. Werth’s shot completed a modest comeback, crawling back from a 4-1 fifth-inning deficit following another shaky start from Joe Blanton (5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER). Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge combined for four shutout innings. For Lidge, it was his 31st save in as many chances.
Beerleaguer: Another tremendous job by the pen to hold it to four runs. Madson is in one of those good grooves. Mad Dog has not allowed a run in his last eight appearances, surrendering just one hit over that span. This follows a string of nine scoreless appearances back in July. Let’s hope he can sustain it. It seems like whenever he builds up enough trust, he throws an egg when expectations are high.
Of course, the other news is the fan reaction to Jimmy Rollins, a 50-50 smattering of boos and cheers out at the old ballyard ('smattering' always used in conjunction with 'boos' for some reason). Down in our comments thread and over the last few days, the majority of readers have given J-Roll a pass for his comments about fans. Probably an 80-20 majority has expressed either support or indifference, with yours truly included in that group. Color me shallow, but J-Roll bought himself immunity from this level of harsh treatment with '07 and the fine career he's had.
It’s the dishonesty that bothers me most about all this chest thumping. “Philadelphia boos when our athletes don’t play hard!” Don't tell that to David Bell. “We boo because he wasn’t on time!” Don't tell that to Pat Burrell, always the first at the park. "He should just shut up and play!" Don't tell that to Mike Lieberthal, or Scott Rolen, or Bobby Abreu, great players who were criticized for not being more outspoken publicly.
In reality, it's somewhere in between fans cheering Sal Fasano's ironic facial hair and legit frustration over 25 years without a championship. That is to say, an equal blend of wanting attention and wanting a winner.