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Unable to silence Phillies bats, Dodgers go down quietly

Oct 21, 2009, 11:47 PM EDT

The rotation provided one quality start in five games. The bullpen allowed 14 runs in 21 innings.
The Dodgers really never gave their offense a shot. It seemed like Joe Torre pushed all of the right buttons in the sweep of the Cardinals. This time, he mostly sat and watched. His one clear error was leaving Clayton Kershaw in too long in Game 1. Game 2 was the lone victory, and nothing could have made Game 3 winnable with Cliff Lee on the mound. In Game 4, he made the right calls and his best reliever got beat.
Game 5 featured seven homers, but most of the excitement was drained by the constant pitching changes, leading to very long innings. The Dodgers used three pitchers in the fourth, and the Phillies used three in the fifth. In the end, talent won out. Vicente Padilla was supposed to get hit hard by the Phillies’ left-handers in the series, but it was actually the righties that pounded him Wednesday night. Shane Victorino’s stunning homer off Kershaw in the sixth qualified as the finishing blow. The Dodgers did put together a big threat in the eighth, but James Loney, Russell Martin and Casey Blake all came up empty with the bases loaded. Philadelphia’s offense scored in six of eight innings and won 10-4.
While the Phillies can start preparing to play the Yanke… the ALCS winner, the Dodgers head home with a bunch of questions. Padilla, Randy Wolf and Jon Garland are all free agents, leaving the team with only Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda and Chad Billingsley guaranteed rotation spots. If GM Ned Colletti decides a makeover is necessary to reach the next level, then Billingsley, Martin and Loney are possibilities to be dealt. Juan Pierre could also go. There’d be a whole lot more flexibility if Manny Ramirez chooses to depart, but odds are that he’ll exercise his $20 million option and stick around. With the sudden uncertainty in the ownership situation and so many of the team’s youngsters due healthy raises in arbitration, there might not be as much room for improvement as fans would like.

  1. Old Gator - Oct 22, 2009 at 9:27 AM

    Now just imagine whaqt it’s like to root for a team whose owners make the McCourts look profligate. Marlins fans go through this every single year. We watch good ballplayers who are still bargains walk away to other teams on such a regular basis that if we want to see any live baseball at all, it’s pay exorbitant prices for diluted beer and triple-A baseball at JoeProDolShark stadium or start haunting the sandlots. The Feesh were one decent (not even stud) reliever away from topping Colorado for the wild card this year but he strolled cross-state to Tampa in March when Loria wouldn’t shell out a million – yes, that’s ONE million – for him. That, plus Loria’s been hobbled by a divorce himself – only it was always his ex who had the money. How these guys conned the county into building that new ballpark when our schools are deteriorating and our homeless problem is getting out of control is beyond me – they should’ve become the San Antonio Sidewinders two years ago. Ah well.
    Meanwhile, the Phillies really made the Bums look bad. I know that even with a 3-1 lead it’s bad luck to predict a sure outcome but frankly, I think the Borg are going to have their hands full with Philadelphia – even after they’ve filled their bellies and arteries with those horrible sandwiches of theirs.

  2. Dmo - Oct 22, 2009 at 9:59 AM

    Pitching Pitching Pitching! That is what my Dodgers need! Like right now!

  3. fast eddie - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    … I think Torre and Lasorda should go to the white house and have a beer with the Pres….

  4. tom sullivan - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    dodger fan , ok by now the national league knows the phillies are the beast, how can the otherv temas catch up, utley, howard ,rollins, werth, victorino are in their peak years, i think the national league better get use to seeing the phils in the series, good job the phillies organization, the rest of the national leagus has to catch up now to the phils, beast of the national league

  5. A-Dog - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:38 AM

    We would have had 1 good pitcher, and probably missed the playoffs. We have the talent, they just didn’t step up when they needed to. We beat ourselves. The bad umpiring behind the plate in game 4 didn’t help us either.

  6. A-Dog - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    err make that game 3, they all run together when your drinking your sorrows away.

  7. KatJeter - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    It wasn’t the Yanks who treated Torre like crap, it was the Steinbrenners! I love my Yanks, but would have a hard time not cheering Joe Torre if we met him in the World Series.

  8. jamesup - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM

    The Dodgers would have won if they played like they did the first 14 games of the season. The team didn’tproduce its best performance. James

  9. Crash - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    I’m still tired from cheering on the current and defending Champions of the World Series and all known galaxies at the ball park last night! Dodgers, nice run! You have a classy manager in Torre and a bunch of classy ballplayers once you get rid of the “THEE CHEATER”, Mr. Gotta Take a Shower. (Don’t know why Torre and the other players put up with him.) Angels, Yanks, we’re not giving up our title without a fight. Can’t wait til Wednesday!

  10. kelprod - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM

    The Phillies are the current World Series champs and clearly the best team in the national league. They have strong starting pitching and not a single soft spot in their batting order. If you like baseball, and regardless of who wins, a Phillies/ Yankees World Series is going to be fun to watch….and I REALLY like the Phillies chances against the Yankees- the first 2 games have the DH and the games in Philly will require the Yankees pitcher to bat.

  11. Philly John - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    To the comment that ‘the Dodgers gave away the games’ is absurd, they were beaten by a better team. The Dodgers didn’t give it away, the Phillies took the series. The Phils scored 35 runs in 5 games to the Dodgers 15 and the only game the Dodgers won, the Phils pitching (after Pedro) ‘gave it away’. I salute the Dodgers for their season, but the better team (two years in a row) won the series.

  12. Ding - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    Dodgers need to get a #1 starter… Kershaw of Bilingsley may become a #1 or #2 starter in comming years but… In 1988 Hershiser was the conerstone & reason they won the World Series. Get Roy Holliday… If you don’t want to give up younsters then sign John Lackey. This team is good enough to make it back…If no big move is made we will be saying wait til next year again.

  13. Jeff - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:17 PM

    The Dodgers should have traded away Billingsley, Martin and some prospects for Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez. Chad has good stuff, but he is way too emotional to ever make it through an entire season without blowing a game and going into a sports depression. Watching him finish the season when it’s clear he didn’t trust his stuff was just awful. And Martin has been a huge disappointment this year. Between his pop fly hitting, his miserable defense, and his inability to outthink the hitters on pitch selection he was constantly finding ways to ruin games for us.
    Had Ned made those moves, we might have had a shot at going to the world series despite the favored home plate officiating and the Phillies sign stealing.

  14. Mabel - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    The Dodgers have a good young nucleus to build around (e.g. Ethier, Kemp, Martin, Kershaw, Billingsley, Broxton) but they’re still undisciplined. They strike out too much, they’re prone to bonehead errors and they don’t know how to pace themselves. Torre has helped with discipline greatly since he came on board, but he needs to bring in a few stable veterans to create a more tempered influence in the clubhouse. Keeping Jim Thome or maybe trading for someone like Chipper Jones or Trevor Hoffman might help in this regard. As for the pitching, Billingsley and Broxton need to be told to lose at least 25 lbs each and we need to re-sign Sherill to help motivate Broxton and have as a backup in case he falters. We won’t have the money to sign Roy Halladay or another ace via free agency, but perhaps we could package James Loney and prospects in a trade.

  15. Deborah - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    The Dodgers were first struggling to maintain and then worsened to struggling to survive right after the All-Star Game. This was the same pattern for the club in 2007 — they just took a nose dive — and it’s what brought Joe here to replace Little. Ned was in a fix last year — it was a toss-up — we needed both bats and pitching — we chose the bat (Manny) over pitching (our chance for CC Sabathia). We took a gamble and we came up short — The season started out well enough — the Dodgers adjusted quickly and magnificently with the 50-game Manny-out debacle — they learned to stand on their own two feet and win in spite of a Manny no-show — that shows a lot of character — I repeat — I a lot of character. After a little bit of time, everyone was patting Torre on the back, crediting him for his ingenuity on his bull-pen — and no one was thinking about the damage it was doing to the starting pitchers — After the All-Star game (coincidentally, after Manny returned), the bats just up and left the club — almost non-existent. The Dodgers rarely were able to put back-to-back wins by the “bats” — some of their multiple wins (2 games or more) were made by stellar pitching — again, the strain on the starters. By the time the regular season ended, our starting pitchers were spent — the bats came together in the first round vs. the Cards — there was nothing left in the bats (or pitching) against the Phillies. Ned thought that inspiration would carry the day for him to fix the pitching this coming off season. It was a crap shoot — and we came up snake-eyes. We tried — we almost made it — we came up short. In the traditional words of the Brooklyn Dodgers: “Wait ‘Til Next Year.” Go BLUE!!!

  16. Dave - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    The Dodgers are headed in the right direction. They are young and improving each year. They have to learn how to win the big game. Its a process, people. Good things are coming for a long time. Kershaw is going to be a huge stud for many years. Billingsley will develop into a solid #2/3 starter. Kemp, Either, Loney, Broxton, etc are all really young and can only get better.
    Needs: #1 starter and back end starter.
    Go Blue!

  17. Ben - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:55 PM

    Was a Dodger fan in the 40’s and 50’s. Great team who always wound up on the short end to the Yankees. Now a Phillies fan, started in the 70’s and have seen the good the bad and the ugly. To all those who are whining, grow up.
    Only one thing will help base
    ball; a commissioner who will accept the facts that umpires are
    human and make mistakes. Baseball needs instant replay. The object is to get the calls right. An out when the runner is safe, or visa versa, screws up the game. Football has learned and it has become a better game, tennis uses it; but other than checking for the home run or foul ball, our childish commishioner fights progress. Since the owners give him his job, it’s up to them to tell him to get with it. Otherwise, the excuses that this umpire is sick or has a headache, bellyache, won’t cut the mustard. If a ballplayer doesn’t perform, they get somebody else; no reason it should be different for umpires.
    GO PHILS !!!

  18. Philly John - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:58 PM

    To the comment that ‘the Dodgers gave away the games’ is absurd, they were beaten by a better team. The Dodgers didn’t give it away, the Phillies took the series. The Phils scored 35 runs in 5 games to the Dodgers 15 and the only game the Dodgers won, the Phils pitching (after Pedro) ‘gave it away’. I salute the Dodgers for their season, but the better team (two years in a row) won the series.

  19. Ding - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    Dodgers have good nucleus & will come back to this same stage…To go all the way with this core you need to add #1 starter
    Stop the hoping like Jason Schmidt, who we knew had some issues before the signing. It’s like you went cheap when you already sepent $100. $120 would have landed you a true ace.
    We came a long way… get some perspective & let’s get it done

  20. NRESQ - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    The only pitching the Dodgers will get is if someone gives away a pitcher (like all the other players the Dodgers get off the market). Face it, the McCourt’s aren’t going to pay market price for real pitching. They had the chance to get Halliday before the deadline for nothing but money, i.e. not giving up any of their core group, but they didn’t want to have to pay Halliday CC Sabbitha money in a new contract. Think the Dodgers could have used Halliday to go up against Lee?
    Bottom line, as someone said above, the Dodgers look good on paper; but they aren’t built for the post-season. Pitching wins in the playoffs! Oh well, the Dodgers will continue to draw 3+ million every year to fund the McCourt’s real estate purchases and now their divorce. Sell the franchise already!

  21. NRESQ - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:32 PM

    There ain’t a whole lot to learn without front line pitching. Period.

  22. yankees - Oct 22, 2009 at 2:00 PM

    The Dodgers are not good. Period.
    They are the best team in a 2nd class league.
    GO YANKEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Don Dufo - Oct 22, 2009 at 2:01 PM

    Who still goes to bed each night uttering, “I wanna be a Yankee. I wanna be a Yankee. Oh, pleeze…I wanna be a Yankee.” ??? You’re right. Manny. It’s time for the Yankees to have their turn with him. Ya think?

  24. Ding - Oct 22, 2009 at 2:04 PM

    Well then Let’s just hope that Kershaw or Billingsley becomes second Oral Hershiser. Wish for one leg player to hit a improbable HR
    When you are not good enough you need a miracle…Maybe Los “Angels” teams can collaborate…

  25. Robert C - Oct 22, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    I’m proud of the guys. If you’d of told me back n April that they would have the best record in the league with Martin not hitting for average or any kind of power, Frucal not hitting period, Manny missing 50 games and Kuroda out for important parts of the season, I’d of laughed. But they did it. Billingsly and Kershaw stand to be greats of the future. Billingsly needs to learn to pitch from the stretch and Kershaw needs to learn he can win without striking everybody out. Kemp needs to lower his strike outs, Looney is still a great clutch hitter (and our best post season hitter two years in a row) but needs to do it all year and needs to add some power. Etherier….Leave him alone. I think the improvements need to be made at second (will it be Belliard or Hudson, are they the future?) And is Blake at third getting to old. Is “the other Blake” ready to hit, and step in at third? or second? I say keep Bills and Kershaw, sign Wolf. Hope Frucal can come back with a bat, he’s still a great arm and a decent defensive SS even if he doesn’t. Find a true ace, even for a year or two until Kershaw and Bills mature. Plug the holes at third and second with at least one 30 homer threat. We are stuck with Manny, and that may not be all bad, for a year. Dangle Kuroda, Pierre maybe Belliario (he’s is a great arm tho’) and a couple top minor leaguers that don’t fit right now but keep that nucleus together (Looney, Kemp, Ethier, Billingsly, Kershaw, Broxton and Martin)there something sweet about a mostly home grown team.

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