Phillies-Dodgers: What you need to know


Phillies-Dodgers: What you need to know

Phillies (28-28) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (34-21)
7:05 p.m. on CSN

The Phillies lost, 4-3, to the Dodgers on Monday night when Jonathan Papelbon was stricken of a strike in the ninth inning on a close pitch to Dee Gordon, who subsequently tripled and scored the game-winning run.

It was the Phils third loss in a row, dropping them back to .500 after reaching a season-high three games over last Friday.

The Phillies are now 5-8 in one-run games and 1-6 when tied heading into the ninth inning, leading Charlie Manuel to remark that his team is too often one hit away.

Starting pitchers
Maybe Cliff Lee can stop the losing streak by picking up his first win. Its got to happen at some point, right?

Lee is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA this season. The Phillies run support for him has been comically bad. Edinson Volquez is the only pitcher in major league baseball who has received fewer runs of support than Lees 15. Its tough to win when your team averages 2.37 runs in your starts.

But this could be the night all of the bad luck ends. Lee dominated the Dodgers in two starts last season, striking out 20 men in 15 scoreless innings.

Lee is opposed by Dodgers righty Chad Billingsley (2-4, 4.09 ERA).

The Phils have tormented the bottom-heavy Billingsley, who including playoffs, is 1-4 with a 5.15 ERA against them.

Billingsley has struggled to go deep into games this season. In his last five starts hes gone four innings twice, five innings once and six innings twice. Overall, nine of his 11 starts have been six frames or shorter.

Billingsley throws a 91-93 mph fastball, a cutter, curveball and changeup. The cutter has been his best pitch throughout his career.

Note of interest
Righthanded Phillies relievers outside of Papelbon have a 6.06 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP in 65 13 innings this season. Someone needs to step up.

Key matchup(s)
No Dodger has given Lee problems in his career, but hell need to somehow keep Gordon off the basepaths. He's an absolute pest when he reaches base, but Gordon is just a .167 hitter against lefties this season.

The Phils need Jimmy Rollins to get going. There is at least a sign that hes breaking out of what has been a season-long slump. Four of Rollins last six games have been multi-hit games. It isnt really resulting in runs, though. Rollins has scored a total of four runs in the Phils last 15 games.

It wouldnt be surprising to see Mike Fontenot in the lineup for the Phillies. Hes 7 for 20 off Billingsley and Manuel has been playing every juicy matchup of late.

Sound off
Did you like what you saw from Vance Worley on Monday night?

E-mail Corey Seidman at

Best of MLB: Aaron Judge hits mammoth homer in Yankees' win over Mets

AP Images

Best of MLB: Aaron Judge hits mammoth homer in Yankees' win over Mets

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge launched a titanic homer, Didi Gregorius snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run double and the New York Yankees beat the Mets 5-3 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory in the Subway Series.

After taking the first two matchups in the Bronx this week, the Yankees kept up their winning ways when the crosstown rivalry shifted to Queens. Judge enjoyed his first game at Citi Field, hitting a solo drive into the rarely reached third deck in left.

Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes never even budged as Judge's AL-leading 37th home run, projected at 457 feet, soared way over his head.

The rookie slugger also singled and scored on Chase Headley's sacrifice fly. But he struck out in the ninth inning to extend a dubious streak: Judge has fanned in 33 consecutive games, three shy of the record for a position player set by Adam Dunn from 2011-2012 (see full recap).

Alonso, Rzepczynski help seal Mariners’ victory
SEATTLE -- Recently acquired Yonder Alonso hit his first homer for Seattle and drove in three runs, and Marc Rzepczynski struck out Chris Davis with the bases loaded to end the Mariners' 7-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

Alonso, acquired in a trade with Oakland on Aug. 6, hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, his 23rd of the season. He added an RBI single during a three-run fifth and also singled in the seventh.

Leonys Martin opened the sixth with his third home run to put Seattle up 7-4.

Seattle closer Edwin Diaz came on in the ninth and walked the first three hitters. Manny Machado followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5, but Martin prevented an extra-base hit with a sensational diving catch in right field.

Diaz struck out Jonathan Schoop, but then hit both Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo to force in another run. Rzepczynski relieved and fanned Davis on three pitches for his first save.

Tony Zych (6-3) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. Ubaldo Jimenez (5-8) allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings (see full recap).

Gordon’s single in 9th lifts Royals over A’s
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Alex Gordon hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth after Oakland tied it in the bottom of the eighth, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Athletics 7-6 on Wednesday.

Alcides Escobar doubled to start the ninth against Blake Treinen (1-1), matching his season high with three hits. Then Gordon delivered his second run-scoring single of the series finale.

Oakland's Matt Chapman hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth against Brandon Maurer (1-1), who wound up the winner.

Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Danny Duffy struck out eight over five innings but the Royals couldn't hold a late lead again before holding on -- a day after squandering a four-run advantage in a 10-8 defeat.

Cain added a key RBI single in the eighth for the Royals, who began the day tied with Minnesota six games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland (see full recap).

Nick Pivetta takes his 'demotion' in stride after putting up big strikeout totals

Nick Pivetta takes his 'demotion' in stride after putting up big strikeout totals

SAN DIEGO — Odubel Herrera has missed the Phillies' last two games with a sore left hamstring and the team could sure use his bat.

Will he be available Thursday in San Francisco?

Herrera was asked about his condition as he hurried out of the clubhouse and off to the team bus after Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the San Diego Padres (see Instant Replay).

"Better," he said, indicating some improvement.

Could he play in the next day or so?

"Maybe," he said.

As a contingency, the Phillies will add a position player — Brock Stassi makes sense — to their roster for Thursday's game while they continue to evaluate Herrera. If Herrera can't go in a couple of days, he could end up on the disabled list. He injured the hamstring late in Monday night's game. He improved his hitting streak to 17 games earlier that night.

In order to add a player to the roster without placing Herrera on the DL, the Phillies had to clear a roster spot. They took the unusual step of sending Nick Pivetta to Triple A moments after he struck out a career-high 11 batters on Wednesday.

It appears to be simply a procedural move. The Phillies play a doubleheader Tuesday against Miami and will be allowed to add a 26th man that day. Ordinarily, a player sent to the minors could not return for 10 days unless he replaces an injured player. By rule, Pivetta could come back and be the 26th man on Tuesday. He then would have to return to Triple A to complete the 10-day stint in the minors. The bottom line is he might not even miss a turn in the major-league rotation.

"With Herrera on the blocks, not knowing where he's at, we need a position player," Mackanin said. "With the doubleheader coming up, we have the option of adding an extra pitcher on the 22nd. So that's the reasoning there."

Pivetta took the move in stride.

"It is what it is," the 24-year-old righty said. "I know about as much as you guys. I'm going to go down and work hard. It will be fine. I'm going to be back up eventually. So we'll just keep moving day by day there."

Pivetta struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced on Wednesday. When the ninth batter, rival pitcher Clayton Richard, came to the plate, he asked catcher Cameron Rupp a question.

"Did he strike everybody out?" Richard asked.

Richard struck out, but eventually got the upper hand. He pitched a three-hit shutout to finish off a San Diego sweep (see story).

"It looked to me like Pivetta was going to have a Kerry Wood performance today," Mackanin said. "Eight strikeouts in the first three innings. He ended up with 11. He threw a lot of good secondary stuff for strikes, which is one of the goals we're working on for him to do. He carried it for a while. He needs to understand how to continue to carry that through five, six, seven or even eight innings. 

"He's a young pitcher. It's his first year in the big leagues. He's going to get it. He's going to be good. He needs to learn how to sustain that through more than five or six innings. That's when you get to be a real solid starter."