For the second night in a row, the Phillies had a lead going into the eighth inning. For the second night in a row, the Dodgers won the game in the ninth inning.
Nomar Garciaparra hit a game-winning solo homer in the ninth, leading the Dodgers past the Phils 7-6. The homer came off Clay Condrey, used possibly because Charlie Manuel didn’t want to use Brad Lidge in a tie game on the road … or possibly because Lidge is still hurt.
No matter what, Chad Durbin again blew the win, with a double by Jeff Kent tying it for the Blue. It erased what once was a 6-1 lead.
The Phillies offense got the six runs via three home runs in the first two innings. Ryan Howard, Greg Dobbs and Jayson Werth provided the shots. After those homers, however, they did almost nothing. Small ball? Situational hitting? Forget it.
Joe Blanton struggled a bit through five innings, giving up four runs before handing the ball to Ryan Madson. The righty calmed everything down with two solid frames. Then Durbin walked in. It’s becoming increasingly evident the Phillies needed more insurance for the bullpen. That experienced back-end quality arm could’ve came in handy last night — instead, they threw Durbin out there, and I still believe Durbin isn’t completely fitting for the eighth inning role.
You can blame everyone on this one, but why bother? The holes that have sat around like boils all season are now starting to plague this team. There’s no situational hitting. There’s spotty starting pitching. The bullpen is thin and needs reinforcements. None of these problems were addressed, so why should it be a surprise?
(By the way, Mr. “Frontrunner” went 0-for-5.)
Associated Press photo