- Updated: May 24, 2014
The Phillies and Dodgers opened a Memorial Day weekend series Friday night, and this game was worthy of it’s own memorial. The Phils faced off against Dodger ace & Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, but managed to get chances against him. They were unable to cash in.
Roberto Hernandez got the start for Philadelphia, and turned in a respectable game. In something that’s been a given the last three games, the Phils’ starter allowed two runs early, one in each of the first two innings. Speedy second baseman Dee Gordon led off the game with a single. He would steal second and third through the next two at-bats in the inning.
With one out, right-fielder Yasiel Puig singled to right to bring Gordon home for a 1-0 Los Angeles lead. The only other run of the game came in the top of the second on a solo home run by left-fielder Carl Crawford. It was a 2-0 lead for the Dodgers, one that the Phillies would fail to overcome.
One of their best chances against Kershaw came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Carlos Ruiz led off with a walk, followed by Chase Utley’s 20th double of the season. With men on second and third and nobody out, Kershaw managed to get Marlon Byrd, Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf to all strike out consecutively.
Midway through the top of the fifth, a heavy rain began falling that delayed the game. It was a considerable delay, but not long enough to knock Kershaw from the game. He would come back out for the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, giving the Phils another crack at him.
The Phillies would threaten in the sixth, when Jimmy Rollins led off with a double. He is now just 16 hits away from passing Michael Jack Schmidt for first on the all-time Phillies hit list. Ruiz followed with a walk to put two on again with no outs. Utley, Byrd and Howard all failed to record a hit, letting Kershaw off the hook yet again.
Hernandez’s effort, again, was respectable. He lasted 6.1 innings, allowing just the two runs and scattered seven hits. He did walk four, but kept the Dodger lineup at bay for the duration of the ballgame. Kershaw went six innings, struck out nine Phillies, and allowed two hits and no runs.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of Friday night’s game was the bottom of the seventh inning. Ben Revere pinch hit for Ruf and led off with a single. The next batter was third baseman Cesar Hernandez who walked. Tony Gwynn, Jr. then attempted to bunt the runners into scoring position, but managed to reach base himself.
The bases were loaded with nobody out. Domonic Brown was the next batter, and he lined out sharply to Crawford in left. It was hit so hard that Revere did not attempt to tag, and was forced back to third. Rollins was the next batter, and he grounded to Chone Figgins at third who forced Revere out at home. Ruiz was the Phils’ last hope in the inning, and he flied out to Puig in right.
The Phillies were shutout for the fourth time in their last 20 home games, leaving eight men on and going 0-9 with runners in scoring position. The inconsistency at the plate is a problem. This team went scoreless for 23 straight innings this year, then managed to score 20 runs in their next 18 innings. Feast or famine with no happy medium.
Last Wednesday was an embarrassing 14-5 loss in Miami that saw the bullpen implode and the offense fail to cash in on early opportunities. Tonight a repeat performance, plenty of great chances with no outs and they could not score.
This loss puts them at 20-25 in 2014, good for last place in the National League East. They are now six games behind first place Atlanta. They will try and even the series this afternoon at The Bank. David Buchanon will make his major league debut when he takes the mound today. He’ll be opposed by Dan Haren for Los Angeles. First pitch is slated for 3:05.
Stats Courtesy of Phillies.com
Photo Courtesy of BND.com