Posted by Kevin Durso
The Phillies road map of a sweep isn’t the greatest. Of the last two series swept by the Phillies, back-to-back series against the Pirates and Rockies, both featured crazy games in the series finale. In their other chances to sweep of late, the finale has been disastrous. Today’s game was a mix of both. But in the end, it was another great ending for the Phillies.
The Phillies had a chance to score in the first, as a pair of runners reached base. But, Hunter Pence popped out to short to end theinning and strand both runners. The first wasn’t so good for Vance Worley. Worley’s only loss came on May 29th, a game where he allowed eight runs, five earned, in just three innings. Basically, Worley was due for a bad day. It started out well, as Worley struck out Aaron Miles on three pitches. But, that was followed by seven straight baserunners, including an RBI single by Matt Kemp, a three-run home run by Juan Rivera, and an RBI double by Dioner Navarro. Navarro would give the Phillies an out as he tried for third on the play. Jamey Carroll finished that stretch off with a triple, before Chad Billingsley struck out to end the inning, but the Dodgers had done damage, striking for five runs while batting around.
The Dodgers weren’t done in the third. A double by Kemp and a single by Rivera led to a run on a sac fly by Navarro.
The Phillies are a team with a lot of fight. All they had to do was find a way to score. In the fourth, they did just that, and the newest Phillie was the one providing the help. Hunter Pence blasted a two-run shot to center, putting the Phillies on the board. A two-out error on a grounder to first by Michael Martinez would lead to a run, as Worley picked himself up with a two-out, RBI single, capping a three-run inning.
Things just got better for the Phils in the fifth. With two on and one out, Hunter Pence hit a dead double play ball to third. Fortune was on the Phillies’ side again, as Casey Blake booted the short hop and the ball kicked toward center, allowing Shane Victorino to score, Ryan Howard to move to third, and Pence to move to second. An RBI groundout by Raul Ibanez cut the lead to one.
Worley’s day was done after just four innings. He allowed six runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out six. Kyle Kendrick came on in the fifth, and allowed the Dodgers to get some breathing room. An RBI double by James Loney padded the Dodgers’ lead to two.
The Phillies had been fighting back all day, and the Dodgers just kept giving them chances to make it a game again. They finished off the fight to get the game evened up in the sixth. With one out, the Phillies had runners on second and third. Shane Victorino struck out, leaving any run opportunity up to Chase Utley. Utley had chances to drive in runs before on the day, but was sitting on an 0-for-3 game. His first hit of the day proved big. He singled to left to score two, tying the ballgame at 7. What Ryan Howard followed with made the turnaround day complete. Howard blasted his 25th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left, giving the Phillies the lead.
With the lead now in their hands, the game rested on the shoulders of the bullpen. First, it was David Herndon, who needed just five pitches to retire the Dodgers in the sixth. Brad Lidge and Antonio Bastardo split the seventh. Lidge struck out Eugenio Velez to lead off the inning, but allowed a single and a walk, forcing his exit. Bastardo got Loney to fly to left, and finished the inning by striking out Navarro. Bastardo retired the side in order in the eighth as well.
Finally, all that was left was the ninth, and it was Ryan Madson on once again. As it had been in both games before, it was anotheradventure for the save. Madson a base hit to Casey Blake, then another to Matt Kemp, allowing the tying run to reach base. An RBI groundout by Juan Rivera brought home a run, but kept the tying run on first. Rod Barajas followed by flying out to center to end the game, and the Phillies completed the sweep of the Dodgers with a 9-8 win.
It seems that every day, the Phillies find a way to impress you even more, and can make the games that look so dismal, so depressing, so far out of reach, games they can win. Vance Worley did not have his best stuff today, and it was evident from the start. The fact that the Dodgers did most of their work early left the Phillies time, and in the end, that’s what really matters. To beat the Phillies, it takes 27 outs, and everything you have as an opponent.
The Dodgers are a very solid club when you look past the team on paper. They were in every single game in this series. But, you can’t allow home runs to the opposing pitcher and make errors in the field and still manage to win.
The Phillies are one of the best teams in baseball for a reason, and it is nothing that the Dodgers can control that makes them thatway. The Phillies simply don’t give up. If you want to beat them, you have to beat them the whole game. Make a mistake against the Phillies, and it just might cost you the game. That’s the way things have been for the Phillies lately, and when you’re riding a hot streak like the Phillies are right now, you certainly feel like you catch all the breaks. So, with the Dodgers off to the start they were today, you couldn’t have scripted a better ending than this. It’s something they could only write up in Hollywood. But, then again, the entire season has been following that Hollywood script.
The Phillies have an off day tomorrow. They return home on Friday for a three-game series with the Washington Nationals.