This west coast swing has been especially tough on those of us that have to wake up and go to work in the morning. A 10:00 start time usually means that the baseball game will last into the early hours of the next day EST. This one ended around 1:30 this morning meaning that anyone who attempted to watch the game will travel through today like an irritable, ineffective zombie. I, for one, am ready for the Phillies to return home. California can cram it.
The only hope for a game starting late is for a dominant pitching performance in which the guy on the mound does not throw a lot of pitches and the people trying to hit the ball off of said dominant pitcher suck at hitting baseballs. The Dodgers have two actual quality major league baseball players with Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp on the roster. The rest of the roster is comprised of Rod Barajas-esque players who have carved out marginal major league careers. What these players lack in talent, they make up for in pain-in-the-assness. Jamie Carroll and Aaron Miles are two journeymen that are more pesky than good.
Doc labored through six and 1/3 innings of one run baseball and was lifted after allowing two base-runners with one out in the seventh inning. It looked like Doc was trying to light umpire John Hirschbeck’s hair on fire as Charlie removed him from the game. Its funny that a pitcher can be getting squeezed, while not quite having his best stuff and the only run he allows is on an RBI groundout. This outing resembled the effort turned in by Roy Oswalt in the series finale against the Giants; a ton of base-runners with very little to show for it. In essence, Doc is badass, Hirschbeck sucks and the Dodgers are a bunch of candy asses. Even after the injustice of a tight zone and the anguish of not throwing a complete game, Doc became the national league’s first fifteen game winner.
The Dodgers matched Doc with Phillie killer Hiroki Kuroda. Saying that the Phillies have struggled with the Japanese right hander is a bit of an understatement. He carried an ERA around one coming into this morning’s contest. In the context of the line-ups collective struggles against him, the first inning single off the end of Ryan Howard’s bat looked like a majestic drive into the night. In all the Phillies managed to score four runs (three earned) off of Kuroda handing him his fourteenth loss of the season. It is a little surprising that Kuroda is still a member of the Dodgers. If you were giving the opportunity to leave a sinking ship of a franchise with a train wreck for ownership and a dwindling fan base, would you do it? Apparently Kuroda is the captain of SS Dodgers and he’s going down with the ship. You know damn well that Kemp would jump at the opportunity to get the fuck out of Dodge.
The Dodgers mounted a little bit of a rally against the Phillies bullpen. After Antonio Bastardo came in to clean up the mess that Doc left in the seventh, Michael Stutes was tabbed to get the Phillies to Ryan Madson. He couldn’t do it. Charlie Manual had to turn to Brad Lidge to bail him out. God damn is Lidge terrifying. He got out of the inning, but he managed to send us all back to 2009 when he was in the midst of the worst season a closer has endured in major league history (or at least it seemed that way). When Lidge fielded a bunt attempt from Tony Gwynn Jr., the collective exhale throughout the Delaware valley said it all. Thank God he didn’t manage to screw it all up.
Madson came in and closed the door by getting the two actual major league players on the Dodger’s roster out and let us all go to bed. Stars of the game were Shane Victorino (3-5 with a homer and three runs scored), Hunter Pence (2-3) and Ryan Howard (2-5 with a mammoth infield single and two RBI).
Tomorrow Cliff Lee takes on fellow left hander Ted Lilly. Here’s to hoping that Lidge gets a day off.