FORMER PHILLIE IS ALMOST WERTHLESS TO NATS IN LOSING NLDS

By Sam Bush

I am not a big believer in that high-falutin German word that as it is defined means taking joy in the misery of others:

Schadenfreude.

But I think I speak for a majority of Phillies Nation when I say that we feel that way this morning after the flat-out failure of Jayson Werth to do anything worthwhile for the Washington Nationals who got beat three games to one by the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS.

Werth was an important of the Phillies’ rise to greatness from 2007 to 2010, and he showed his disloyalty to the team that resurrected his career after a serious injury almost ended it by snapping up $126 million from the Nats in the free agent market.

The Nationals won 96 games and their second National League East title in three years thanks, in large part, to a pair of veteran hitters at the heart of their lineup. Right fielder Werth and first baseman Adam LaRoche were central to the team’s regular season success. They also played a big part in their postseason failure.

Werth, who led the team during the regular season with a .849 OPS, finished 1 for 17 with three walks and five strikeouts in the four-game National League Division Series loss to the San Francisco Giants. LaRoche, who hit a team-high 26 home runs, managed to go only 1 for 18 with four strikeouts.

“We just didn’t hit,” LaRoche said. “We had a couple guys hitting and it’s hard to win games when you’ve got two of the eight guys swinging the bat. It’s frustrating.”

Both Werth and LaRoche had enjoyed success against veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who drew the Game 4 start for the Giants. Vogelsong’s postseason résumé is strong even if his regular season numbers were not. Werth entered the game 3 for 8 with two doubles against Vogelsong in his career. LaRoche was 3 for 10 with two doubles against the right-hander in his career.

Neither managed a hit against Vogelsong. After Werth drew a walk in the first inning, LaRoche hit the ball hard to left field but it was for an out. In the San Francisco chill, however, the ball was not carrying to the opposite field.

Werth hit the ball hard at times during the series with little to show for it. In the sixth inning, Werth crushed a ball, perhaps the hardest-hit ball of the series. As Vogelsong was tiring, Werth pounced on an outside fastball. The ball sliced toward right field with the look of a double off the wall, but right fielder Hunter Pence jumped, slammed into the wall and made the best defensive play of the series.

Werth, through a team spokesman, declined comment after the game.

Werth, 35, earned a reputation as one the best postseason hitters of his generation with the Philadelphia Phillies. He hit .444 (8 for 18) during the 2008 World Series, which the Phillies won. In the 2009 playoffs, he hit seven home runs in 15 games. Although he hit .238 during the 2012 NLDS with the Nationals, his season-saving home run in Game 4 sent the series to a decisive Game 5.

 

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