Shaking up the roster before the trade deadline didn't seem to have an effect on the Philadelphia Phillies.
A longshot to even make a dent in the postseason race, the Phillies attempt to string back-to-back wins together tonight and take a three-game series from the NL East-leading Washington Nationals in the second test of this set.
Philadelphia saved some cash by dealing outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, respectively, before posting an 8-0 victory at Nationals Park. Victorino landed in L.A. in exchange for reliever Josh Lindblom, minor league pitcher Ethan Martin and a player to be named later or cash.
Pence was dealt to San Francisco for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, catching prospect Tommy Joseph and minor league pitcher Seth Rosin. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro had a lengthy response to the moves.
"Clearly, we were built for, and we were hopeful to make, another run at a championship," Amaro said. "The chances of doing that right now are a little more remote, obviously, with the way we've played. We did not play very good baseball the first part of the season. We never really got untracked. I still think we have an outstanding ballclub and a lot of talent on this club. We'll see what happens over the next couple months. We'll get to see a couple of things. We'll see if guys are playing better baseball, which is an important element in this. And we'll see if guys are prepared to take jobs out there."
One player who has had a few chances to win a spot is outfielder Domonic Brown. Brown joined the club last night and delivered a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning.
"We will play him. We're going to put him out there and let him play," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Brown's teammate with Triple-A Lehigh Valley Kevin Frandsen got the scoring started with a two-run homer off Stephen Strasburg in the second inning. Jimmy Rollins had a two-run inside-the-park home run and Juan Pierre collected three hits and a pair of runs scored for the five-time defending NL East champions, who were swept in three games at Atlanta over the weekend and won for the fifth time in eight tries. The Phils are still last in the division.
Cliff Lee earned his second win of the season (2-6) with seven shutout innings and went 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
"We've had a tough draw this year with injuries and stuff," Lee said. "Who knows what's going to happen this year with the moves they made. Hopefully, it's going to be that much better in the future."
The Phillies haven't been so successful lately with Vance Worley on the mound and hope that changes tonight. Worley is 2-4 with a 4.50 earned run average in his last 10 starts, with the Phils going 3-7 in that span.
Worley did not factor in the outcome of a 7-6 win over Milwaukee last Wednesday and allowed three runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. He is 5-6 on the season in 17 starts with a 3.88 ERA -- one season after going 11-3 in 25 games (21 starts). The right-hander lost at Washington on May 5, when he surrendered five runs and 11 hits in six frames during a 7-1 setback.
In four career games (3 starts) against the Nationals, Worley is 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA.
Washington's lead atop the division was trimmed to 2 1/2 games after Atlanta won for the seventh straight time over Miami. Strasburg didn't have his best stuff to keep the Braves at bay and allowed six runs and eight hits in only four innings of work.
"He didn't have his best stuff and his location wasn't good. He was fighting himself. He lost a little poise," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of the young right-hander. "It's just a long grind and you can't be dominant every time you go out there."
Jesus Flores had the only extra-base hit for the Nationals, who were outhit by a 13-5 margin and entered the game having won eight of nine games. The Nationals didn't have to make a move before the trade deadline due to an enormous amount of depth, and didn't have sluggers Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche in Tuesday's lineup to rest separate back issues.
The heavy hitters are expected to return for Wednesday's second portion of this series. Also, slugging outfielder Jayson Werth (wrist) is expected to join the ballclub soon and will continue to play two or three more minor league rehab games with nearby Class A Potomac.
"He feels like he could play, but he's not quite 100 percent," Johnson said of Werth. "Hopefully before the homestand's up, he'll be ready to come back."
Washington opened a seven-game residency last night.
Edwin Jackson ended a personal two-game slide his last time out and looks to string together back-to-back winning starts for Washington. Jackson threw seven scoreless innings in an 8-2 win at Milwaukee on Thursday to win for the third time in five decisions.
Jackson, who is 6-6 with a 3.52 ERA in 19 starts this season, was beaten by the Phillies back on May 23 in a 4-1 loss at Citizens Bank Park, where he allowed three runs in seven innings. The right-handed Jackson is still searching for his first career win over the Phillies and has lost both of his starts against them.
Washington has won four of seven matchups with Philadelphia in 2012 and is 9-3 in the past 12 meetings between the two ballclubs.