The Phillies (64-55) will continue their four games series with the Dodgers (60-59, 2nd National League West) as they are now looking to play for a split in their series. The game will be played tonight at Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 10:10 pm Eastern (7:10 pm Pacific). The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (6-12 (1-0), 4.71), who is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates on August 8, where he threw seven shutout innings, giving up only one hit, in the Phillies’ 2-0 extra-innings lost. Blanton will be looking to continue his present string of quality starts while hoping to give the Phillies their first win on the present road trip while trying to muzzle Manny Ramirez’s hot bat. The Dodgers will counter with Brad Penny (6-9, 5.66), who is coming off a victory over the Giants on August 8, after coming off the disabled list, where he went five innings, giving up just an earned run on one hit and walking three, in the Dodgers’ 6-2 win. He hopes to get his second straight win after returning from the dl which hoping that the Phillies’ bat will continue being inconsistent.
The Phillies hope that the offense will finally come alive, after teasing their fans all season with flashes of how destructive this team can be against other National League teams. Sadly, because of a lack of contact hitters within the bottom part of the line-up, and a seeming refusal, or rather, inability, to play situational/small ball style of baseball when the long ball approach doesn’t work against even the most mediocre of pitchers, seems to hurt the team when the starters, for the most part, have been able to consistantly keep opponents from scoring more than three to four runs a game. For most teams that would easily translate into a win, but with the Phils it usually translate into a lost as the offense is unable to string together several innings in which they can put men across the plate thanks to clutch hitting. That is bad enough when it happens to a pitcher like Adam Eaton, who doesn’t seem to be able to help himself with his pitching, its worth when it occurs when the team’s ace, Cole Hamels, is on the mound, who has now gone seven straight starts without being able to get win number 10. Something has got to give, and soon, else the Phillies will be looking at another post-season looking at the wrong side of the playoff picture.
The Phillies have a game lead on the Mets as they prepare to continue their visit with the Nationals in Washington, and a game and a half lead over the Marlins as the fish continue playing host to the Cardinals. The Phillies’ lead over the once mighty Braves is now at nine games as they have just lost the first game of a day/night doubleheader to the Cubs. The Phillies will be trying to get their first win on their road trip to California while hoping that their opponent won’t do any better themselves.