Phillies' Brooms Not Dodge-Able
Two weeks ago, the Phillies were swept in their four-game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
After that series was finally over, a glance at the Phils' schedule revealed that they would be playing the Dodgers in another four-game set, this time in Philadelphia. Everyone who noticed this thought "Well, there goes our playoff chances".
Clearly the Phillies had revenge on their minds.
They won four of their six games after the sweep, against the two worst Major League offenses in San Diego and Washington.
The confidence carried over to this rematch with LA.
Friday night saw the Phillies leave just three men on base, putting up seven runs on the Dodgers' newest acquisition Greg Maddux.
Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies' bullpen surrendered just five hits, two walks, and one run. The run came on Andre Ethier's first inning home run.
The Phils' offense received key contributions from Ryan Howard and Chris Coste, who combined to drive in six runs en route to an 8-1 Phillies win.
On Saturday, Pat Burrell got the offense started early, with a three run home run off the left field foul pole, giving Cole Hamels some early run support.
Hamels went seven strong innings, allowing five hits, two runs, and getting five strike outs. He positioned himself for his 11th win of the season.
While he allowed Russell Martin to hit a two-run shot to left in the third inning, the offense came back to support him.
Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard, and Shane Victorino combined to add on six more runs over the final four innings, leading the Phitins to a 9-2 victory.
On the day, Burrell carried the offense with his five RBI effort, as well as getting three hits and three runs.
In the national spotlight of Sunday Night Baseball, the Phillies had their closest contest.
Joe Blanton and Hiroki Kuroda each pitched six strong innings in a surprise pitchers' duel.
Blanton allowed six hits, one run, and three walks while striking out four.
Kuroda was able to silence the Phillies' bats. He surrendered just two hits, one run, and two walks, while fanning five Phils.
The Dodgers took a seventh inning lead, thanks to a Jeff Kent RBI single off of J.C. Romero.
The lead stood until the bottom of the ninth, when LA closer Jonathan Broxton came in and lacked command of his fastball.
Pedro Feliz took advantage of Broxton's lack of control, stroking a meatball pitch into center to plate Shane Victorino and tie the game.
Feliz was the hero again in extra innings.
In the bottom of the 11th, Feliz was able to knock a Jason Johnson pitch into the left-center field seats, giving the Phils the 5-2 victory.
Once again in the spotlight of ESPN, the Phillies looked to pull out the brooms against the Dodgers on Monday.
Jimmy Rollins had been slumping for the past few series, and he seemed to rediscover his swing.
He was 5-45 in his at-bats leading up to his appearance in the bottom of the second.
Rollins was able to come through and drive in Pedro Feliz and Jayson Werth with a single to shallow center, giving Jimmy a key boost of confidence.
He proceeded to lead off the fifth with a double to right field. He moved to third on a Chase Utley single. Rollins then scored on Pat Burrell's double play ground out, making it 3-0.
Rollins then tripled to left, thanks in large part to the lack of mobility on the part of Manny Ramirez in left field.
He reached base all five times, including being hit by a pitch and walking.
Jayson Werth and Chris Coste knocked in the final two Phillies' runs in the seventh, making it 5-0.
That would be the final score, as Brett Myers pitched another gem. He went seven shutout innings, surrendering nine hits and three walks while striking out eight.
The Dodgers were carried in this game by Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, and Angel Berroa, all of whom had at least two hits.
After the game, Rollins was asked if he had changed anything to burst out of his slump. He said that he "went back and watched his highlight tape" to help him focus on the things he did right, instead of the wrongs.
The keys of this series were as follows:
- Phillies pitching allowed a combined five runs in 38 IP
- The offense put up runs to support their pitchers
- Manny Ramirez went just 2-14 in the series
- The Dodgers left 35 men on base, while the Phils left 29
The Phillies currently trail the New York Mets by 0.5 games in the division, thanks in large part to the Houston Astros who split their four-game set with the Mets.
The Phils now wait for the Mets to arrive for a key two-game set at the Bank.
The Phils will throw out Jamie Moyer to counter Pedro Martinez on Tuesday, and Kyle Kendrick will square off with Johan Santana on Wednesday.
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