The Philadelphia Phillies were going to spend their scheduled off day in Washington at the White House being honored by President Barack Obama as World Series champions. Instead, they mourned the loss of their Hall of Fame broadcaster.
Three days after Harry Kalas’ death, the Phillies will try for their fourth straight victory Thursday night against the Nationals - the majors’ only winless team.
Kalas, the announcer of the Phillies (4-3) since 1971, collapsed in the broadcast booth shortly before Monday’s 9-8 win over the Nationals (0-7). He died at the age of 73 after being taken to a hospital.
“We lost our voice today,” Philadelphia president David Montgomery said. “He has loved our game and made just a tremendous contribution to our sport and certainly to our organization.”
The Phillies had a color photo of their broadcaster taped inside their dugout during the game with the words “Harry Kalas 1936-2009” written underneath.
“It sounds like he passed in the place he would want to,” said Ryan Howard, who is 8-for-18 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last five games versus the Nationals. “He was up in the booth.”
Wednesday’s game in this series was postponed due to rain after the Phillies canceled their scheduled visit to the White House on Tuesday.
Philadelphia has plated 24 runs during its three-game winning streak and scored 29 during a four-game run over the Nationals. With the offense getting on track, the Phillies need some better outings from their starting pitchers.
Philadelphia’s starters have a 9.00 ERA, and Joe Blanton (0-0, 15.75 ERA) will try to bounce back from a rough outing when he takes the ball Thursday.
Blanton was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in four innings against Atlanta on April 8. The right-hander was in line for the loss until Philadelphia rallied for eight runs in the seventh inning of a 12-11 win.
Last season, Blanton went 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts versus the Nationals, whose starting pitching is in even worse shape than Philadelphia’s.
Washington’s starters have a 9.29 ERA, and the team has allowed at least eight runs in four of its seven games.
“We need to hold the opposition to less than six, seven, eight runs - and I think we’ll have a chance to win,” manager Manny Acta said. “The main thing is we can’t be allowing eight, nine runs every day.”
The Nationals, who led the majors with 102 losses last season, have matched the franchise’s worst start set by the 1998 Montreal Expos.
“We’re going to figure it out. I don’t know if it’s going to be tomorrow or it’s going to be June,” said Adam Dunn, who homered and doubled Monday. “I promise: We’re going to figure it out.”
Shairon Martis (0-0, 9.00) looks to lead the Nationals to their first victory when he takes the mound Thursday.
Martis allowed three runs and five hits in three innings, leaving with a 3-1 deficit before a rain delay of 2 hours, 2 minutes in Friday’s 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Braves.
The right-hander opened the season in the rotation after being called up from the minors last September. In the final game of 2008, Martis allowed one run and two hits in 2 1-3 innings of relief against Philadelphia.