LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers have been playing in Los Angeles since 1958 and never have they suffered a loss this one-sided.
And to think, it came at the hands of the Phillies, a team that has had trouble scoring runs all season and entered the night averaging just 3.75 runs per game.
What’s that thing Charlie Manuel likes to say? Oh, yeah, baseball’s a funny game.
Riding a 21-hit attack and the strong starting pitching of John Lannan, the Phillies walloped the Dodgers, 16-1, on Friday night (see Instant Replay). It was the Dodgers’ worst home loss since leaving Brooklyn.
“We had a real good night,” Manuel said. “That tells you we can score and get hits. We needed a game like this. Hopefully it carries over.”
This marked the first time all season the Phils reached double-digit runs. Last year, the Phils scored double-digit runs six times. They did it 12 times in 2011.
The Phils arrived at the mathematical halfway point of the season with a 39-42 record. They are 3-2 on this important 10-game road trip, and here’s the galling part of that: They coulda, woulda, shoulda won the two games they lost. They blew a lead in the ninth inning in one of those losses and in the seventh inning in the other.
“That’s the consistency we always talk about,” Manuel said.
Friday night’s offensive charge was led by Michael Young, who had four hits, including a homer, in the ballpark of his boyhood dreams.
“I love this place,” Young, a Los Angeles-area native, said of Dodger Stadium. “My earliest memories of loving baseball started in this ballpark.
“We were overdue for a game like this. We’ve all been on the other side of these things. It’s just one of those odd games where we found some holes and got some breaks.”
Another Los Angeles-area guy had a big night with the stick. Delmon Young had three hits, including an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run double in the second. He finished the night with a career-high six RBIs.
Delmon Young’s second-inning double was his seventh straight hit in a three-game span. He is 9 for 14 in those three games, a spree that coincided with Manuel’s saying that it was time for Delmon Young to kick it in gear.
Three games ago, Delmon Young was hitting .222. Now he’s at .259.
“Maybe he heard me,” Manuel said of Delmon Young.
Delmon Young missed the first month recovering from ankle surgery. He has continually said he was a slow starter and would be a different hitter when he got to about 150 at-bats. He is at 158.
“Usually when I get to about 150 at-bats, it starts clicking,” Delmon Young said. “It was a matter of time.”
Delmon Young contributed to the Phils’ all-around solid play by gunning down a man at the plate from right field.
“It was a good game, top to bottom,” he said. “Lannan kept putting up zeroes and we kept having good at-bats.
“We could have won every game on this trip. We need to keep doing that the next couple of weeks and we’ll make up some ground.”
With a half season to go, the Phillies trail Atlanta by 7½ games in the NL East. They play the Braves three times on the next homestand.
Lannan joined the hit parade with three of them. On the mound, he benefited from his teammates building a six-run lead against lefty Chris Capuano after two innings.
“It’s good to get that run support,” said Lannan, who is 1-2 in six starts with the Phils. “It forced me to pound the zone.”
The Phils’ biggest offensive night of the season came with their highest-paid hitter, Ryan Howard, sitting on the bench (see story). He must have felt like the guy who called in sick the day the folks at the office chipped in and bought the winning Power Ball ticket.
Howard will sit again Saturday as he tries to clear his head and stay away from one of those left-handed starters that have given him fits. Howard will return to the lineup Sunday. By then we’ll have an idea whether Friday night’s one-sided win was a streak-builder for the Phils or an aberration.