The Phillies took a tough loss today against the Dodgers to tie this NLCS series 1 game each. Pedro Martinez was brilliant through 7 innings where he allowed only 2 hits and no runs. You could not have asked for more out of him. But Martinez was pulled before the 8th inning in favor of a pinch-hitter and that proved to be a costly move as the bullpen could not hold down the 1-0 lead.
The pen has been the Achilles heel of this team all year. Yesterday, they pulled through; today, they did not. Manager Charlie Manuel went through five pitchers in the 8th inning and they combined to blow the lead. Chan Ho Park, who was amazing yesterday, started the inning and gave up two base hits with no outs. But it looked like he may escape the jam when Russell Martin hit an easy double play ball to third. No such luck…
In a rare and truly scary move, Chase Utley, for the second night in a row, overthrew first base which allowed the tying run to score and left 2 men on with 1 out. Last night, the slow feed from Jimmy Rollins and off-balance throw appeared to blame. But tonight, Utley just plain blew it. He rushed the throw when he had plenty of time and killed any chance Park had of getting out of the inning unscathed.
Utley is human, of course. And you cannot blame the loss on him when the only scoring the Phillies did all game was a solo homer by Ryan Howard. But it was a terrible waste of a great performance by Martinez and an even bigger waste of the opportunity to go up 2-0 in what will be a very tough series for this team.
JA Happ allowed the winning run to score for the Dodgers when he walked Andre Ethier with the bases loaded. The run was charged to Park. Chad Durbin got them out of the inning, but in the 9th, they offense went down 1-2-3. And to add insult to injury, Utley made the last out of the game by flying out to Ethier in right. I am betting that right now, Utley needs a hug; or maybe a big bowl of ice cream. Stiff drink anyone? Ugh.
This loss was depressing on a number of levels. But the good news is that we now have 3 games in Philly, starting on Sunday night. With any luck, and some sort of miracle in the bullpen, the Phillies can use the home field to get themselves back on track.
Photo by Jenn
Happy Bunny by Jim Benton