Tagged: Manny Ramirez

National League Championship Series: Game 1: Two bombs in the sixth propel the Phillies past the Dodgers, 3-2. Phils take 1-0 Series lead.

Two home runs by Chase Utley and Pat Burrell in the sixth inning would propel the Phillies past the Dodgers to take a one game to none lead in the National League Championship Series, 3-2. The Dodgers would score first, taking a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, as, with a runner on second and one out, Manny Ramirez would hit a RBI double, knocking in Andre Ethier, who has earlier doubled. The Dodgers would make it 2-0 in the fourth, as, with a runner on third, and one out, Blake DeWitt would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Matt Kemp, who has earlier hit a ground-rule double and has gone to third on Casey Blake’s ground out, 6-3. By the bottom of the sixth inning, Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe was in complete control of the Phillies, making most of the Phillies’ batters hit into ground outs, although a fly out by Jimmy Rollins would end a two on, two out, Phillies’ threat in the fifth, while Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels was keeping the Dodgers under control, dispite giving up two runs thanks to three doubles and a sac fly. But things would suddenly change in the Phillies’ half of the sixth. Shane Victorino would start the inning off by hitting a grounder to Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal, who would make a quick, high throw, to Dodgers’ first baseman James Loney, which would tip off the end of his glove and rolled into foul territory behind first base. After slowing down to make sure that he has touched first base, Victorino would move on to second base on Furcal’s throwing error. The next batter, Chase Utley, would then follow by guessing correctly on a first pitch fastball, sending it into the right field seats for a two-run home run, scoring Victorino before him, to tie the game up at 2-2. After Ryan Howard would ground out to Loney, for the inning’s first out, Pat Burrell would get the count up to 3-1 before he would hit a fastball into the left field seats for a solo home run, giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead. That would be the game for Lowe as Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre would come out and replace him with Chan Ho Park, who would then proceed to end the inning by getting Jayson Werth to fly out to center and Pedro Feliz to ground out, 6-3. Hamels, in the seventh, would have a 1-2-3 inning, as he would get first DeWitt and then Jeff Kent to strike out swinging, and then end the inning by getting Furcal to ground out, 1-6-3, as the ball glance off of Hamels right to Rollins, before he would easily throw Furcal out at first. In the eighth, Ryan Madson would replace Hamels on the mound. Madson would begin the inning off by getting Ethier to strike out swinging. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout to tell Madson how he was to pitch to Ramirez. I have no idea if Madson actually followed Manuel’s orders or not, as Ramirez would swing at the first pitch thrown to him, a changeup, which he would line directly to third baseman Feliz for the second out. The next batter, Russell Martin, would get on base on a hard ground ball that would glance off of Feliz’s shin, which would slow it down enough for Burrell to get to it and throw it quickly to second base, holding Martin to a single. Loney would follow by hitting into a ground out, 4-3, ending the inning. The ball is then given to Brad Lidge in the ninth to close out the game. Lidge would start the inning by getting Kemp to fly out to right center, which was caught by Victorino for out number one. Blake would follow by flying out to deep center field for the inning’s second out. Lidge would then end the game by getting DeWitt to strike out swinging, getting his third save of the post-season.

Cole Hamel would get the win, his second win of the post-season, as he would pitch seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out one. Brad Lidge would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning, recording his first save of the series and his forty-fourth save in forty-four tries. Derek Lowe would take the lost, as he went five and one-third innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits and a walk, while striking out only two. His series’ record is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Chan Ho Park would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Greg Maddux would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit. Hong-Chih Kuo would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no runs.

Until the sixth inning, Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe had everything going his way, having the Phillies’ bats under his control as he got most of his first fifteen outs on ground balls, including one that would lead into a double play. But, everything would change thanks to a lead-off two-base error by Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal on a Shane Victorino ground ball. After that, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell would guess right on a couple of Lowe’s fastballs, sending them into the right and left field seats, respectively, to give the Phillies the lead, a lead that they would never surrender. Meanwhile, Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels, although giving up runs in the first and fourth innings, was only in trouble once, and that was after giving up the RBI double to Manny Ramirez in the first, as he would, after striking out Russell Martin for the inning’s second out, walk James Loney, then watch Carlos Ruiz allow an 1-0 pitch to Matt Kemp to get pass him for a pass ball, which would allow Ramirez to move up to third and Loney to second. But he would finally end the threat by getting Kemp to fly out to right. The Dodgers would not put together another major threat against Hamels, outside of scoring another run off of him in the fourth, over the next six innings, before he would hand the ball over to Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge.

The National League Championship Series will continue in Philadelphia this afternoon, with the second game being played at Citizens Bank Park, starting at 4:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers, who is coming off a good start against the Brewers on October 2, where he pitched seven inning, giving up just two earned runs on just two hits and three walks, while striking out four, in the Phillies’ 5-2 win. His record in the National League Divisional Series was 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. His regular season record was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 190 innings of work, as he struck out 163 batters, while walking only 65. But, his record after coming back from a minor league assignment to help clear his head is 7-4, with two no-decisions, in thirteen starts. In two starts this year against the Dodgers, he is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA, as he went a combined total of fourteen innings, giving up only three earned runs on fourteen hits and five walks, while striking out sixteen batters. He hopes to do as well against the Dodgers this afternoon as he did against the Brewers. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley, who is coming off his brilliant start against the Cubs on October 2, where he went six and one third innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits and a walk, while striking out seven, in the Dodgers’ 10-3 win. During the regular season, his record was 16-10 with a 3.14 ERA in 200 and two-thirds innings of work, as he struck out 201 batters, while walking just 80. In one start against the Phillies, back on August 25, he is 0-1, as he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and five walks, while striking out only three, in the Dodgers’ 5-0 lost. He will be seeing if he can improve on his Divisional Series start and avoid being hit as he was in his previous start against the Phillies. The Phillies will be trying to take a two games to none lead into Los Angeles while the Dodgers will be trying to leave Philadelphia with a spilt.

National League Championship Series: Game 1: Cole Hamels gets the call as the Phillies try to get into the World Series.

The first game of the National League Championship Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers will start tonight at 8:22 pm Eastern and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies’ starter for this first game of a possible seven games series will be their ace, Cole Hamels. Hamels is coming off a brillant performance against the Milwaukee Brewers on October 1 in the first game of the National League Divisional Series, where he pitched eight shut out innings against the Brewers, giving up only two hits and striking out nine batters, in the Phillies’ 3-1 win. During the regular season, Hamels went 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09, while striking out a total of 196 batters in 227 and a third innings. Against the Dodgers, he would pitch two games, going 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, as he went a combined total of fourteen innings, giving up four earned runs on ten hits, while striking out twelve Dodgers. He will be trying to improve upon his previous outstanding performance against the Brewers, while trying to start the Phillies off on a good note in the series. The Dodgers will counter with Derek Lowe, who is coming off a good performance of his own against the Chicago Cubs on October 1 in the first game of their National League Divisional Series, where he pitched six innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits, while striking out six, in the Dodgers’ 7-2 win. During the regular season, Lowe went 14-11 with an ERA of 3.24, as he struck out 147 batters in 211 innings of work. He has met the Phillies only once this year, getting the victory on August 11, as he pitched six and a third innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Dodgers’ 8-6 win. Career wise, he is 4-1 with 2 saves against the Phillies with an ERA of 3.02. He will be trying to pitch the Dodgers into an early lead in the series.

The Phillies will be expecting Cole Hamels to be as dominant in this game, as he was in his start against the Brewers, trying to keep the Dodgers’ bats, especially the bat of Manny Ramirez, quiet during the ballgame. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ bats will have to start out being a little patient with Derek Lowe, waiting for their chances before striking at him, while at the same time trying to make sure that he doesn’t get as comfortable in Citizens Bank Park as he has in the past, as he is sporting a 2-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in three starts. They will have to combine the correct balance of patient and aggressiveness against the veteran Lowe, else it is going to be a long night.

Brett Myers throws seven innings of shutout ball as the Phillies sweep the Dodgers, 5-0. Bring on the Mets!!!

Brett Myers and the bullpen would combine to shutout the Dodgers on thirteen hits as the Phillies would complete their four games sweep of the Dodgers, their first four games sweep of the Bums in Philly since 1929. After Brett Myers and Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley are both able to get out of first inning jams, the Phillies would score their first runs in the second inning, as, with two men on and two outs, Jimmy Rollins would hit a two-run single, scoring Jayson Werth, who has gotten on base earlier with a walk, and Pedro Feliz, who has earlier singled, and who would both move up a base on Myers’ sacrifice bunt, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Phillies would increase their lead in the fifth, as Pat Burrell would hit into a double play, doubling up Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, as Rollins scored on the play, having gotten on base with a double, and moving over to third on Utley’s single, to make it 3-0 Phillies. They would then threathen to score some more runs in the inning by loading up the bases via a walk to Ryan Howard, a single to Shane Victorino and another walk to Werth. But Billingsley would finally end the inning by getting Feliz to ground out. The Dodgers would then threathen to score in the top of the seventh as they loaded up the bases via two singles (Mark Sweeney and Andre Ethier) and a walk (Matt Kemp), with one out. But Myers would get out of the inning by first striking out Jeff Kent, and then getting Manny Ramirez to fly out deep to right. The Phillies would then score their final runs in their half of the seventh, as, with a man on third with one out, Werth would hit a RBI single, scoring Howard, who has earlier doubled and then move to third on Burrell’s ground out to first, to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead. After moving to second base on Feliz’s single, Werth would score all the way from second on Chris Coste’s ground out, second to first, as he kept on running off of the crack of the bat, to make it 5-0 Phillies. That would be the ballgame as J.C. Romero and Clay Condrey would both come in to pitch a pair of scoreless innings, although the Dodgers would threathen to score in both innings.

Brett Myers would get the win as he pitches seven innings of shut out ball, giving up nine scattered hits, as he struck out eight batters while walking three. His record is now at 7-10, 4-1 since coming back from the minors, with his ERA dropping to 4.49. J.C. Romero and Clay Condrey would both pitch a scoreless inning, with both giving up two hits apiece while striking out one man each. Chad Billingsley would get the lost as he goes six innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 10-8 with a 3.15 ERA. Chan Ho Park would pitch an inning, giving up two earned runs on three hits. Tanyon Sturtze would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits.

For the third time in the four games series, the offense would end up getting ten hits, with Jimmy Rollins leading the way this time as he is just a hit short of getting the cycle, as he goes 3 for 3 with a single, a double and a triple, along with a walk and also being hit by the pitch, as he also knocks in two runs while scoring one more, as he has his first multi-hit game since the August 9 game against the Pirates. He was followed by Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz who each had two hits, as all of the starters, except for Pat Burrell and Chris Coste, who both took the collar, would have at least one hit. If the Phillies’ offense continues like this in their series with the Mets, the team from New York might soon find themselves once again trailing the Phillies.

The Phillies (72-59) will now face the first place Mets (73-59) in an important two games series for first place in the National League East. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (11-7, 3.54), who is coming off a no-decision against the Nationals on August 21, going six and two-thirds innings, giving up just an earned run on five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 lost. His last two starts against the Mets were a pair of no-decisions, both of which would eventually be lost by the Phils, as he would go a combined thirteen and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits. He will be looking to pitch his fifteenth straight good start, as he goes for his second straight win, while trying to pitch the Phillies back into first place. The Mets will counter with Pedro Martinez (4-3, 3.97), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on August 21, as he pitched seven innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits, in the Mets’ 5-4 win. In his last start against the Phillies on July 7, he would get the win as he pitches five and one thirds inning, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Mets’ 10-9 win. He will be trying to keep the Mets in first place in the East against a resurgent Phillies’ offense.

The Phillies trail the Mets by a half game as they prepare for a very important two games series with the Mets. The Marlins trail the Phillies by five games as they took the day off last night as they prepare for a three games series with the once mighty Braves. The Phillies will be trying to regain first place from the Mets before they head off to Chicago to play a three games series with the Major League leading Cubs.

Pedro Feliz’s bat and glove leads Phillies to an extra-inning walk-off victory over the Dodgers, 5-2. The Phillies are now half a game behind the Mets in the East.

Pedro Feliz’s bat would knock in four late innings runs, while his glove would help stop the Dodgers in the tenth as the Phillies win a walk-off victory against the Dodgers in extra-innings, 5-2. The Dodgers would get their first run of the game in the first, when, with the bases loaded, and one out, James Lanier would hit a RBI single, knocking in Andre Ethier, who has gotten on base with a five-balls walk  (Yes, five-balls. The home plate umpire, Jerry Layne, at some point in the count, thought it was 2-2, when it was in fact 3-2, before Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton finally walked Ethier), moved to second on Jeff Kent’s single and then went to third when Manny Ramirez was hit by the pitch, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Blanton would finally get out of the inning by getting Nomar Garciaparra to fly out and Casey Blake to strike out. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Blanton and Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda, with Blanton giving up only four more hits and two more walks while striking out four Dodgers’ batters before being lifted after six innings of work, while Kuroda would keep the Phillies silent for four innings, giving up no hits at that point, while only four men would get on base (Error, two walks and a hit batsman). The Phillies would tie the game in the fifth as Chase Utley would hit a RBI single, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier singled, and then went to second on Blanton’s sacrifice bunt. The Dodgers would retake the lead in the seventh, when, with a runner on second, and two outs, Kent would hit a RBI single, scoring Ethier, who has earlier walked, and then got to second base on Ryan Madson’s wild pitch, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. The Phillies would come back to tie it at two all in the ninth, when, with two men on, and two out, Pedro Feliz, who has come in as a defensive replacement for Greg Dobbs in the seventh during a double switch when Madson came in to replace J.C. Romero on the mound, would get a RBI single, scoring Shane Victorino, who has singled, and has gone to second on Eric Bruntlett’s sacrifice bunt. In the Dodgers’ tenth, they would try to regain the lead as they loaded the bases with two singles (Ramirez and Loney) and a walk (Mark Sweeney) with nobody out. The next batter, Blake, would then hit the ball to third. After catching the ball, Feliz would tag the bag for the first out, beating Loney to the bag, and then throw home to double up Ramirez, who would be tagged out by Chris Coste, for a 5-2 double play, as Sweeney would move up to second and Blake would be safe at first. Chad Durbin would then end the inning by getting Russell Martin to fly out to right. In the bottom of the eleventh, the Phillies would go to work against Dodgers’ reliever Joe Beimel, who was starting his second inning of work. Victorino would start off the inning with a double. After Joe Torre comes out to replace Beimel with Jason Johnson, Coste would get a walk, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Jayson Werth would then hit a grounder to the right side, to second baseman Pablo Ozuna, who would throw to first for the inning’s first out, while Victorino and Werth would move up to third and second base respectively. Cole Hamels would then come up to pinch hit with the Dodgers’ infield and most of the outfield in to try and prevent the run from scoring. Hamels would sadly pop up the first pitch thrown at him, that would be caught by Ozuna for the second out of the inning. This would bring up Feliz. On the first pitch, Feliz would hit it deep to center field for a three-run home run, his thirteenth home run of the year, scoring Victornio and Coste, as he gives the Phillies an extra-inning walk-out win, 5-2.

Joe Blanton would get his third straight no-decision as he goes six innings, giving up only an earned run on six hits, three walks and a hit batter, while striking out four. J.C. Romero, would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit and a walk. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on two hits. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Chad Durbin would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk. His record is now 5-2 with a 1.98 ERA. Hiroki Kuroda would also get a no-decision as he also goes six innings, giving up an earned run on two hits as he struck out five. Chan Ho Park would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Hong-Chih Kuo would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Jonathan Broxton would pick up his fifth blown save of the year as he goes an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits. Joe Beimel would get the lost as he pitches one inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on one hit and a walk. His record is now 4-1 with a ERA of 1.95. Jason Johnson pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on a hit and a walk.

After two straight games of getting ten hits, the offense would be limited to seven hits in the third game of the four games series with the Dodgers, but they would count the most when they came, as the bottom of the order would once again cause the damage as Shane Victorino would be involved in the rallies that would score the tying and winning runs, while Carlos Ruiz would score the Phillies’ first run and Pedro Feliz, coming in as a late innings’ replacement, would knock in the tying and winning runs as he batted in the ninth spot. The bottom part of the line-up have ended up being responsible for three of the last five Phillies’ win, and have done most of the scoring in their last lost. If the bottom half of the line-up continues to score runs after Victornio’s placement into the fifth hole, the Phillies should continue to be a team no longer to be taken lightly. Once the first five batters have decided to once again hit, this team should be tough to beat down the stretch. But, we probably won’t know which way the team will be going until after the end of the series with the Mets.

The Phillies (71-59) will end their four games series with the Dodgers (65-65, 2nd National League West) with a night game tonight, nationally televised on ESPN2, as they look for a sweep of the Bums. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (6-10, 4.71), who is coming off a nine hit shut out of the Nationals on August 20, in the Phillies’ 4-0 victory, his fifth straight quality start since his return from the minors. His only start against the Dodgers was a hard luck lost on August 14, where he went seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 3-1 lost. He will be trying for his four win since coming back from the minors and his sixth straight quality start. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley (12-9, 3.10), who is coming off a no-decision against the Rockies on August 20, where he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Dodgers’ 4-3 lost. He did not face the Phillies during the last series. He will be trying to stop the slide and thereby avoid the sweep.

The Phillies now trail the Mets by half a game as the Mets lost to the Astros last night. They are ahead of the Marlins by four and a half games as the fish defeated the D-backs last night. The Phillies will be trying to perform a sweep of the Dodgers, in revenge for the Dodgers’ sweep last week, while hoping that the Astros will defeat the Mets, putting them back into first place, before their two games series with the Mets, starting tomorrow night.

Phillies get swept by Dodgers as offense waste a good effort by Myers. Lost drops Phils into second place in the East.

The Phillies get two hit by Dodgers’ pitching as a good effort by Brett Myers is wasted as the Phils get swept by the Dodgers, 3-1. The lost puts them in second place in the National League East, a game behind the Mets. The Dodgers would get their first run of the game in the second inning, as, with a runner on third, and one out, Nomar Garciaparra would hit a ground ball that would bounce out of Myers’ reach and be grabbed by Chase Utley, who would then proceed to throw out Garciaparra at first, as he knocks in James Loney, who has tripled earlier on a ball that would get past a diving Geoff Jenkins, who would try to make a diving catch instead of just grabbing it on a bounce and keeping it a single, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The Dodgers would add a second run in the sixth as Matt Kemp would hit a lead off home run, his fourteenth home run of the year, and only the second given up by Myers since coming back from the minors, to make it 2-0 LA. The Phillies would finally get a run across in the seventh as Ryan Howard would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier doubled and reach third on Utley’s ground out, pitcher to first, cutting the Dodgers’ lead to 2-1. Werth’s double would be the Phils second and last hit of the night (the other one being Utley’s double in the fourth with two outs) as Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda would keep the bats quiet during his seven innings of work, walking none and striking out seven Phils. The Dodgers would get the run back in their half of the seventh, as, with a runner on second, and two men out, Casey Blake would hit a RBI single, scoring Russell Martin, who has earlier singled and then stole second, to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. That would be it as Hong-Chih Kuo would pitch two scoreless innings in relief, letting only one man get on base, via a walk, as he would record his first save of the year.

Brett Myers would take the lost in spite of a quality start in which he would go seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits, as he struck out eight Dodgers, one of whom being Manny Ramierz, whom he would muzzle by having him go 0 for 3 with a walk, the only walk Myers would allow during the game. His record is now 5-10 with a 5.02 ERA. Scott Eyre would pitch a scorless inning, giving up one hit, walking one batter while striking out one. Hideki Kuroda would get the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up only one earned run on two hits while striking out seven. His record is now 7-8 with a 3.88 ERA. Hong-Chih Kuo would get his first save of the year, as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up no hits.

The Phillies’ offense has just hit a new low as it was able to get only two hits last night in their lack of support of another excellent outing by one of their starters, this one provided by Brett Myers, his fourth quality start since his return from the minors to get his head straighten out. I am not going to state the obvious as it looks like this team is just plain lifeless. It is obvious that they need a spark to get them going, but they just don’t seem to know where to find it. If anyone is able to find a spark, please send it to Citizens Bank Park. PLEASE!!!!

The now second place Phillies (64-57) now head down to San Diego for a three games series with the Padres (47-74, 5th National League West). The game will be played tonight in PETCO Park, and will start at 10:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Pacific). The Phillies will send to the mound the 45 years old veteran Jamie Moyer (10-7, 3.81), who is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates on August 10, where he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. Lifetime against the Padres, he is 7-7 with a 4.53 ERA in 17 starts, including a start this year on April 30, a lost, in which he would pitch five and a third innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 lost. He will be looking to pitch his thirteenth consecutive quality start while trying to end the Phillies’ four game slide and keep them close to the Mets. His opponent will be veteran pitcher and Phillies’ killer Greg Maddux (6-8, 4.12), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on August 9, where he went six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits, in the Padres’ 8-3 win. He has faced the Phillies once already this year, on April 29, when they would at the time deny him his 350th win, as he would pitch six and a third innings in a losing effort, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, in the Padres’ 7-4 lost. He will be trying to revenge his earlier season lost while seeing if he can continue the Phillies’ present offensive struggles.

The now second place Phillies trail the Mets by a game, as New York prepares to play the Pirates in Pittsburgh for a weekend series. They are ahead of the Marlins by a game and a half as the Marlins get ready to visit the red hot Cubs in Miami. The Braves are nine games behind the Phillies, as they get ready to host the Giants. The Phillies hope that they can get some wins in San Diego, to stay close to the Mets, before coming back home for a nine games series that will begin this coming Tuesday with the Nationals.

The bullpen blows another lead as the offense once again goes awol after scoring some runs as the Phillies fall to the Dodgers, 7-6.

Chad Durbin for the second straight night allows the Dodgers to tie the score in the eighth inning, before the bullpen finally loses the game in the ninth, this time to a Nomar Garciaparra walk-off home run, as the Phillies’ offense is for the second straight night put to sleep by the Dodgers’ bullpen in the middle innings, after taking what should’ve been an early commanding lead. The Phillies would score four runs in the first on a pair of two-run home runs. After Jayson Werth is rubbed of a home run to right by Andre Ethier for the second out of the inning, Chase Utley would get on base as he is hit by the pitch. Ryan Howard would follow with his league leading thirty-second home run of the year, scoring Utley, for a quick 2-0 lead. Pat Burrell would then get on base with a walk. Greg Dobbs would then follow with his fifth home run of the year, scoring Burrell, to make it 4-0 Phils. The Dodgers would get a run back in their half of the first, when, with the bases loaded, and one out, Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton would give up a walk to James Loney, scoring Ethier, who has gotten on base earlier with a single, would move to second on Jeff Kent’s single and move to third on the walk to Manny Ramirez, making it 4-1 Phillies. Blanton would finally get out of the inning by striking out Casey Blake and getting Garciaparra to fly out to right. The Phillies would add to their lead in the second when, with a man on and two outs, Werth would hit his sixteenth home run of the year, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 6-1 lead. That would be all the damage the Phillies would be able to do as the Dodgers’ bullpen, starting in the fourth inning, would give them only one more hit, four walks and a hit batter, while squashing threats in the fifth and sixth innings. In the meantime, the Dodgers would chip away at the Phillies’ lead. It would start in the third as Ramirez, who owns Blanton, would hit his twenty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Kent, who has earlier singled, to reduce the Phillies’ lead to 6-3. Then in the fourth, Blanton would give up another home run, this time a solo shot to Ethier, his twelfth home run of the year, cutting the lead down to 6-4. After Blanton gets out of the fifth inning without any further damage, he hands the ball over to Ryan Madson, who would proceed to get out six of the seven batters he would face in two innings of relief. Chad Durbin is then given the ball so that he can hand it over to Brad Lidge for a save opportunity in the ninth. Sadly, it didn’t happen as Durbin would end up blowing his fourth save of the year. The inning would start with a single by Russell Martin. Durbin would then walk pinch hitter Juan Pierre, putting runners on first and second with nobody outs. Matt Kemp would then line out to Werth for the first out of the inning. The next batter, Ethier, would then hit the ball to Ryan Howard. Instead of throwing to Jimmy Rollins at second to force out Pierre, Howard would instead go to first, not confident that his throw would actually get to Rollins. That lack of confidence would prove costly as Durbin would then give up a two-run double to Kent, tying the score at six all. Durbin would then intentionally walk Ramirez, after getting behind in the count 3-0. That would be it for Durbin, as he is replaced by J.C. Romero. Romero would finally end the inning by getting Loney to ground into a force out, shortstop to third base. In the ninth, with one man out, Clay Condrey would throw a walk-off home run to Garciaparra, his sixth home run of the year, to give the Dodgers a 7-6 walk-off victory.

Joe Blanton gets a no-decision as he pitches five rough innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits and three walks, while striking out six. Ryan Madson would pitch two strong innings of relief, as he gives up no runs on no hits, and strike out three, while one man reached base on a fielding error. Chad Durbin would blow his fourth save of the year and his second in this series, as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits and two walks. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only hitter he would face. Clay Condrey would take the lost as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit, Garciaparra’s walk-off home run. His record is now 3-3 with a 3.71 ERA. Brad Penny would also receive a no-decision as he only last three innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits, a hit batter and two walks, while striking out four. Jason Johnson would pitch two and two-thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up one hit and walking two, while striking out five. Joe Beimel would face only two batters, giving up a walk and hitting a batter. Chan Ho Park would pitch two and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up no hits. Jonathan Broxton would get the win as he pitches a 1-2-3 ninth, with two strikeouts. His record is now 3-3 with an ERA of 3.58.

Sigh. It’s becoming a broken record. Offense strikes early, gets nothing going in the middle innings and is unable to get a clutch hit when they do threathen to score. Now the bullpen is getting into the act, as it, or rather Chad Durbin, has now blown two straight save opportunities. Although the main culprit, as always, is the Phillies’ offense, we now add Ryan Howard’s sad defense as well, as his fear of maybe not throwing the ball straight to Jimmy Rollins for a force out causes him to instead go for the sure out at first. Listening to the broadcast crew, it would appear that Jay-Ro did not agree with Howard’s decision. And to be honest, neither do I, since if Ryan had thrown the ball to second and had gotten Juan Pierre out, then the next batter, Jeff Kent, would probably have knocked in only one run with his double. But we will never know for sure since that was not the actual result. It would seem that the offense needs someone or something to break them out of their collective funk, like the Dodgers getting Manny Ramirez have gotten them going. Too bad our cheapskate managment isn’t thinking like that. Double sigh.

The Phillies (64-56, T-1st) will play the final game of their four game set with the Dodgers (61-59, T-1st National League West) tonight. The game will be played at Dodgers Stadium and will start at 10:10 pm Eastern (7:10 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (5-9, 5.09), who is coming off a win against the Pirates on August 9, where he went seven and two-thirds innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, while striking out six, in the Phillies’ 4-2 win. He has pitched rather well since coming back from his stint in the minors, going 2-0 in four starts, with a 2.10 ERA, while the Phils have gone 1-1 in his other two starts. Against the Dodgers in nine starts, he is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA. He will be looking to make it four good starts in a row while trying to salvage a win in the series for the Phils and keep them in at least a tie for first place in the East. His opponent will be Hiroki Kuroda (6-8, 4.02), who is coming off a no-decision against the Giants on August 9, where he pitched eight innings, giving up only one earned run on eight hits, in the Dodgers’ 3-2 lost. He will be trying to help the Dodgers sweep the Phillies, while keeping them at least tied for first in the West.

The Phillies are now tied for first with the Mets as they defeated the Nationals for the second game in a row, while the two teams both lead the Marlins by a game and a half after the Marlins’ lost to the Cardinals. Their lead over the Braves is at nine games as the Braves were swept by the Cubs in a day/night doubleheader. The Phillies will be trying to salvage a win tonight in LA before they head on to San Diego where they will be facing some more tough pitching, hoping against hope that the offense will finally break out of its year long funk. Otherwise, they will be looking up to see themselves trailing the Mets and being just ahead of the fish in the standings.

The Phillies continue their visit to lala land, wondering if Blanton will be able to put an end to the Manny Ramirez show.

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.