That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

On a cold, windy night in Philadelphia, last year’s best offense was stymied by Washington Nationals starter Tim Redding. If the game was a series of coin flips, the Phillies called heads every time and it always landed tails. Every ball they hit hard was right at a defender, and one of the many balls hitters did not hit well accounted for the only run of the game — a Ryan Zimmerman solo home run that eked over the right field fence.

Nationals vs. Phillies 04/02/08For those counting, that’s two game-winning home runs in three games for the third baseman. Of course, his homer tonight wasn’t as dramatic as the one that won the Nationals’ home opener, but they both counted the same in the box score.

Lost in the disappointment is the great start from Cole Hamels: eight innings, five hits, two walks, and 6 strikeouts. Unfortunately, he gets marked down as having lost that game (insert rant against the W/L metric here).

Had the winds not been blowing in so strongly from left field, and had the temperature been a bit higher, Hamels might have been credited with giving up more runs, as Ryan Zimmerman lost a well-hit three-run homer in the first inning. Off the bat, it looked like it’d be way out, but the ball had such a high trajectory that it was pushed back in and caught in front of the warning track by left fielder Pat Burrell.

The Phillies’ lone hit came courtesy third baseman Pedro Feliz — a grounder up the middle. The other three base runners reached via a Redding walk to Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Geoff Jenkins.

Tonight marks the third straight season in which the Phillies dropped the first two games of the season, and at least so far, they look to be en route to their fifth straight sub-.500 April.

The Nationals start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2003, when they were the Montreal Expos.

Tomorrow’s 1:05 game will have the Phillies’ Jamie Moyer facing the Nationals’ Jason Bergmann.

Seanez signed, Helms D’ed For A

Assumed to be a reaction to Tom Gordon’s blow-up on Monday, the Phillies signed right-handed reliever Rudy Seanez. Despite his age — 39 — he is still effective, having put up great a ERA+ in three of the past four seasons:

2004: 133 ERA+

2005: 143

2006: 95

2007: 121

He tends to stray from walking hitters — 3.2 per 9 innings in ’07 — and still has the ability strike hitters out in bunches, averaging 8.6 per 9 last season.

To make room for Seanez, displaced third baseman Wes Helms was designated for assignment, the culmination of the Phillies’ unsuccessful efforts to find a suitor for him. The Phillies have 10 days to trade or release him. The Dodgers are hurting for a third baseman, but they were discussing a Seanez-for-Helms deal and opted instead to drop the reliever.

Game graph courtesy Fan Graphs.