Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 0

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Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 0

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Apparently a managerial change didn’t do much for the Phillies’ offense.

As Ryne Sandberg took over the leadership of the ballclub on the day the Phillies announced the dismissal of Charlie Manuel (see story), the status quo prevailed. Behind a three-hitter from Zack Greinke, the Phillies were blanked, 4-0, by the Dodgers on Friday night at the Bank.

Greinke out-dueled Cliff Lee into the eighth inning, handing the Phils’ ace his fourth straight loss.

The defeat was the Phillies’ 20th in the last 24 games to knock them to 53-68.

Starting pitching report
Lee was solid in eight innings, allowing five hits and a walk with six strikeouts. However, Lee gave up a two-run homer to Hanley Ramirez with one out in the fourth inning. The Dodgers added a third run in the seventh when Dom Brown misplayed a line drive into an RBI double for Mark Ellis. They tacked on their final run when Scott Van Slyke singled home Ramirez in the ninth.

Greinke allowed three hits and four walks in 7 1/3 innings. He came out in the eighth after allowing an eight-pitch walk to Jimmy Rollins and an 0-2 single to Michael Young.

Bullpen report
Justin De Fratus lasted just two-thirds of the ninth inning, allowing two singles, a hit batsman and an unearned run before Sandberg turned to Cesar Jimenez for the final out of the inning.

For the Dodgers, Paco Rodriguez and Ronald Belisario each recorded an out in the eighth before turning it over to closer Kenley Jansen in a non-save situation. Jansen retired the side in order in the ninth.

At the plate
The Phillies had three hits. Cody Asche doubled to right with two outs in the second and Darin Ruf hit a single under a diving Ramirez’s glove with one out in the fourth.

However, the Phillies drew five walks and got the leadoff man on base in the third, fourth and seventh innings. They also left the bases loaded in the eighth and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Ramirez hit his 12th homer of the season and the third in his career off Lee. In going 1 for 3 against Lee, Ramirez is 8 for 16 all-time against the lefty.

Juan Uribe added a pair of hits with a double.

For the history books
Sandberg made his big-league debut for the Phillies on Sept. 2, 1981 in Atlanta as a pinch runner for catcher Bob Boone in a 4-3 loss to the Braves. Sandberg scored a run in the ninth inning of that game on a single by Pete Rose. Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews batted third for the Phillies and went 0 for 5 in Sandberg’s debut.

Up next
The Phillies and Dodgers continue the series on Saturday night when Kyle Kendrick (10-9, 4.48) faces lefty Clayton Kershaw (11-7, 1.88). Kendrick suffered a 6-1 loss to the Dodgers on June 30, allowing four runs on 10 hits and a walk in six innings.

Kendrick is 5-5 with a 7.36 ERA in 11 career appearances against the Dodgers and in his last seven starts, the righty has allowed 34 runs (29 earned) on 55 hits and nine walks in 36 innings. That’s a 7.25 ERA since June, after posting a 3.59 ERA in the first three months of the season.

Strangely, Kershaw is winless in his career against the Phillies, sporting an 0-4 record with a 4.31 ERA in eight starts. This comes despite the fact that Kershaw has allowed two runs or less in four starts against the Phillies, including just one run on five hits in eight innings on July 18, 2012 at Dodger Stadium.

Sources: Pete Mackanin fined Odubel Herrera for incident in Saturday's game

Sources: Pete Mackanin fined Odubel Herrera for incident in Saturday's game

PHOENIX -- Early Sunday morning, Odubel Herrera was summoned into manager Pete Mackanin's office for a chat.

It wasn't the first time it has happened this season.

But it was the first time this happened:

Mackanin, according to sources, fined Herrera an undisclosed amount of money stemming from an incident in the previous night's game.

The amount of the fine is not known, but it definitely wasn't one of the $1 fines that Mackanin hands out for trivial missteps in the team's kangaroo court. 

This was a disciplinary action.

In Saturday night's game against Arizona, Herrera was caught trying to steal second base for the third out in the top of the sixth inning with the Phillies trailing, 3-2, in what became a 9-2 loss. Herrera took off on pitcher Robbie Ray's first move and was caught in a play that was scored 1-3-4.

The problem wasn’t as much Herrera getting caught — though that hurt in a close game — it was that Mackanin had put the red light on Herrera after he'd reached first base on a two-out single. Herrera often has a green light, but in this case Mackanin killed it because he feared an open first base would have resulted in Arizona walking No. 8 hitter Cameron Rupp to get to the pitcher's spot.

Mackanin would not confirm or deny the fine when asked about it Monday. After a moment of silence, all he would say was, "Base running matters." He then walked away.

Herrera's play this season has been occasionally amazing and often frustrating. He is hitting .333 (33 for 99) with a majors-high 13 doubles in the month of June and leads the Phillies with 75 hits and 31 extra-base hits for the season. 

But there have been times when Herrera has lacked focus, such as last week when he ran through a stop sign at third base in a close game and was picked off third base in another. In Monday's series finale in Phoenix, a 6-1 loss, he struck out three times. He made no effort to run to first base on a dropped third strike in the first inning.

Herrera signed a five-year, $30.5 million contract with the Phillies over the winter. Manager fines are generally just a few hundred dollars and are donated to charity so the one levied by Mackanin won't break Herrera. Nonetheless, it’s noteworthy that Mackanin was moved to such an action.

Bleep it, says Frustrated Freddy Galvis, Phillies just need to play better

Bleep it, says Frustrated Freddy Galvis, Phillies just need to play better

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PHOENIX -- When your starting pitcher doesn't make it out of the third inning and your offense generates just five singles and one run, well, it's not going to be a good day, and it wasn't for the Phillies on Monday. They suffered a 6-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks to fall to 24-51, the worst mark in the majors (see Instant Replay).

The Phils are on pace for 110 losses, one shy of the club record set in 1941.

No one expected this team to contend, but no one expected things to be this bad, either.

"In spring training, if you told me we were going to have this record, I wouldn’t believe it," shortstop Freddy Galvis, the team's elder statesman, said after the last loss. "I believed we had a good team. But we just can’t put anything together. We play well for five or six games and then we go to another six- or seven-game losing streak.

"It’s hard. It’s hard to see. It’s hard to believe it. [Bleep] it. We have to [bleeping] play harder every single day. We need to try to do better."

The Phillies were out of this one early as rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta had trouble throwing strikes and was racked for six runs in 2 2/3 innings. He allowed 12 base runners on seven hits and five walks.

It's tough to start climbing out of a hole on a day when your starting pitcher doesn’t give you much of a chance, but Galvis would like to see a little more fight, nonetheless.

"The effort has to be more than we have right now if we want to win," he said. "I think we have to do a little bit more — if we want to win."

Sometimes it almost seems as if losing is becoming habit to this team. 

"We’re losing, we’re losing, we’re losing and I don’t see any change so far," Galvis said. "If you get used to it, we’re [bleeped]. We have to have a different mentality every time we come here. We have to try to win. We have to try to fight for nine innings and 27 outs."

Entering the season, some hopeful hearts thought the Phillies could make a run at .500, a 10-game improvement on last season's 71-win season. But 75 games into this season, the Phils are on pace for just 52 wins.

Phillies management was always reluctant to put a number on how many wins it thought this team could deliver. That's standard operating procedure because rebuilds are unpredictable. But management has never been shy in pointing out that the Phillies are a club building for a better day and expectations were never high for this club. Could it be that the players are simply playing down to expectations?

"If you get that into your mind you’re [bleeped],” Galvis said. "We’re players. We have to play hard, 24-7. And that’s it. Yeah, they say we’re a rebuilding team, but we still have good players here.

"Sometimes you have to relax a little, just breathe and let it go. When we’re in a winning streak everybody just relaxes and plays baseball. But right now it’s not that way. We want to do it so badly and in the end we don’t do it because we try too hard. Let our abilities speak for us and go from there."

Manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that the "losing is hard to deal with. It’s not easy." But he said he had no qualms with the team's effort. The Phillies won the first game of the series against Arizona then lost the next three.

"We scored six runs the first game and four the next three," Mackanin said. "You know the old saying that pitching and defense wins games, well, if you can’t hit you can’t win a lot of games and we haven’t been hitting."

The Phillies had just five hits in this game, all singles, on a day when Zack Greinke was off his game and lasted just five innings and threw 102 pitches. They had some chances to get in the game, but left two men on base in the first and sixth innings and the bases loaded in the fifth. They were just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

Pivetta struggled with his control in his first six starts (16 walks), improved it in his next two (just three) and struggled with it again on Monday in his ninth big-league start.

Part of the learning experience?

“Yeah, but that’s not an excuse I want to use," he said. "I’ve got to make an adjustment during a game and do better. 

"I beat myself today and let my team down."