Men against boys. Varsity versus junior varsity. That’s what it looked like in the Philadelphia Phillies thoroughly embarrassing 16-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Any of the 30,025 in the ball park who were fans of the home team deserve a medal if they stayed around to watch the end. The Phillies fell to a mediocre 48-46, while the Dodgers improved to 63-33 on the season, the best record in all of Major League Baseball.
Through four innings, both starting pitchers finished with 73 pitches. However, the competing individual statistics could not have been further apart.
Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw had allowed one run on three hits and had successfully dodged bases loaded threats in both the first and third innings. Conversely, mercurial Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin had surrendered six runs on six hits.
Throughout the game, the Dodgers showed why they own the best record in the game. They hit for power (Cody Bellinger’s 32nd home run in the fifth and his 33rd in the seventh off Edubray Ramos; Max Muncy’s 24th in the seventh off Ramos; Alex Verdugo’s two-run blast in the eighth off Yacksel Rios), hustled singles into doubles, executed a suicide squeeze single and delayed steal of home during a six-run fourth inning . . . truth be told, the chasm that exists between the elite Dodgers and descending Phillies was alarming and worrisome.
As for a potential comeback, two mind-boggling statistics muted any possibility of a miraculous win. During Kershaw’s illustrious career, he has now been provided with six or more runs on 96 occasions. His record in those games is 73-3 with 20 no-decisions. When leading by at least five runs at any point, his record is now . . . 57-0.
The Phillies had a supreme chance to twist the Dodgers into a bind. The Dodgers were coming off last night’s 7-4, 12-inning win at Boston that necessitated six relievers and 102 pitches while causing them to arrive in Philadelphia at 4:30 a.m. Had they gotten to Kershaw early (his career record at CBP was 2-3 with a tepid 4.01 ERA) there might have been a chance to help erase the still-lingering taste of LA’s three-game sweep from May 31 through June 2.
Scott Kingery (who had two of Phillies seven hits) led off the third inning with a long home run that gave the Phillies a 1-0 edge. The blast ended an 0-for-9 string. Once at a startling .349 on June 19, the current leadoff hitter had seen his average reduced to .282 before game time.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 15, 2019
Seven batters later, Sunday’s walk-off hero Maikel Franco had a chance to break the contest open. Despite a 10-pitch at-bat, Franco grounded out to third as the Phillies left the bases loaded for the second time in three innings.
It didn’t take the Dodgers long to answer. In the fourth, following a one-out single by Verdugo, Justin Turner slapped a run-scoring double. After advancing to third on a ground out by Bellinger, Verdugo scored the go-ahead run on an infield single by Muncy (.159 average over previous 11 games).
A single to left by Kike Hernandez increased the Dodgers lead to 3-1, and a run-scoring bunt single by Austin Barnes started to turn the game into a rout. Joc Pederson knocked in the fifth Dodger run via an infield single; a delayed steal of home plated the sixth.
In summary, it was just a terrible display by Philadelphia. It was as though the Dodgers were toying with the Phillies, and they had no answer and arguably no desire, as they ultimately induced a miserly 40 pitches in innings four through six after seeing 61 over the previous three.
Pouring insult into the gaping and embarrassing wounds, the Phillies used Roman Quinn to pitch the end of the eighth and the entire ninth; he was tagged for two runs and four hits. Oh, and one more thing. J.T. Realmuto’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end.
The sun will come out tomorrow, and these two teams will start all over again. Phillies inconsistent right-hander Vince Velasquez (2-5, 4.63) will take the mound to face-off against Dodgers NL All-Star Walker Buehler (8-1, 3.46).
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Dodgers – Three-time Cy Young Award recipient Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 3.00) struggled early but finished strong. While improving to 4-5 in 15 career starts versus the Phillies and lowering his ERA against them (he entered with a 2.83 mark), Kershaw went six innings (the 16th straight occasion in which he lasted six or more innings) and was charged with one run on four hits and two walks while striking out seven. Of his 101 pitches, 68 went for strikes.
Phillies – Zach Eflin (7-9, 4.16) started strong, needing only 40 pitches to toss three hitless, scoreless innings. Then came the aforementioned nightmare fourth, the major culprit behind his awful six-inning line score of nine hits and seven earned runs to go along with one walk and five strikeouts on 102 pitches, 69 for strikes. Four starts ago, Eflin’s ERA was an All-Star worthy 2.83. Since then, he has been torched for 20 runs in 22 innings and his season ERA has soared to 4.16.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Cody Bellinger
This could have gone to anyone wearing a Dodgers uniform, and that’s no embellishment. This victory was as thorough as a team could muster. Up and down the lineup, batters went 8 for 18 with runners in scoring position and slugged 10 singles, five doubles, and four home runs and worked five walks. One player stole home; another successfully suicide squeezed. Clayton Kershaw was dominant over his final three innings. But it was Bellinger, MLB’s leader in round trippers, who stood out most with two home runs, two singles, two runs batted in and four runs scored while upping his batting average to .341 and his OPS to 1.143. He even busted down the line for an infield single in the ninth even though his team was leading by a dozen runs.
TICKET IQ NEXT GAME
Tuesday, July 16, 7:05 EDT vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
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