The Phils managed to escape the nation's capital with a single win in three games but they didn't manage to escape unscathed.
Ryan Howard twisted his ankle early in Sunday's game and became the fourth starting infielder to go down this season. It remains to be seen whether Howard will also be the fourth starting infielder to spend time on the Disabled List.
Raul Ibanez, reborn since the All Star game, also sat out Sunday's game with a sore wrist courtesy of an heroic but failed attempt to make a diving catch in Saturday's game. By my calculations, only Jayson Werth among the opening day starters has avoided the injury bug. That isn't meant to be a reverse curse, Jayson, in case you are reading this post today.
Cole Hamels pitched a decent game yesterday but as is too often the case, he made a couple of mistakes and the Nationals made him pay. The Phils rallied twice to win in extra innings with Brad Lidge getting the save. Charlie Manuel isn't giving up on Lidge, particularly since he really doesn't have any other options unless he goes for situational and committee closing. There are some who advocate taking just such an approach, but it tends to wear out the committee too soon if they warm up every day and appear often.
First place Atlanta has given the Phils plenty of opportunity to make up ground and the finally the Phils did take advantage. Now it's on to Miami where the Marlins always play the Phillies tough. The good news is they miss Josh Johnson. The bad news is Howard, Victorino, Utley and perhaps Ibanez may all probably be missing from Tuesday's lineup. With Roy Halladay pitching the opener it might not matter as much since the Phils rarely give him run support anyway, but it would be nice to have all of your starters available just in case they do decide to hit.
Let's hope nothing else debilitating is in store for the Phils.