Aug 112010

August 11 Philadelphia Daily News

“WHEN GOLD GLOVER Jimmy Rollins trips over second base in one inning and muffs a routine groundball in another, you get a pretty good feeling that a Phillies victory isn’t meant to be.

In fact, it’s enough to make you question death and taxes.

But Rollins’ two errors – which doubled his season total – were mere footnotes on a night in which the once-struggling Dodgers turned Citizens Bank Park into their own personal pinball machine, knocking Kyle Kendrick off the mound in the fourth inning and making similarly quick work of the bullpen behind him in a 15-9 victory.

The good news was that the Phillies (62-50) lost for just the fourth time in 18 games. The bad news was just about everything else, including the Braves’ 4-2 victory over the Astros on a two-run home run by Brooks Conrad in the ninth. That bumped Atlanta’s lead in the NL East to 2 1/2 games.

The Phillies‘ highlights were limited to a two-run homer by Ross Gload in the fifth inning that cut the deficit to 7-4, and a solo home run by Domonic Brown in the sixth that was the rookie’s first as a major leaguer. But both moments were short-lived: Gload’s, because of the four runs the Dodgers scored off of righthander David Herndon the next half inning; and Brown’s, because of the six-run deficit that burned on the scoreboard as he circled the bases.

Otherwise, it was an ugly performance, one that included 18 hits by the Dodgers, nine runs allowed by the Phillies‘ bullpen, and a walk issued from J.C. Romero to veteran lefty reliever George Sherrill. He was making his first plate appearance in 7 years as a major leaguer and didn’t swing at any of the six pitches he faced.

The Phillies were concerned enough with their ability to combat the Dodgers’ lefthanded hitters that they recalled 24-year-old lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo before the game, opting to spend the foreseeable future with just four players on the bench.

Their concern was well-placed. Their solution will hope to improve.

Kendrick entered the night with a .947 OPS against lefties, .676 against righties, and his performance did little to bridge the disparity. Lefties Scott Podsednik, Andre Ethier, James Loney and Jay Gibbons combined to drive in or score all six of the runs that Kendrick allowed before he was pulled in the fourth with one out and runners on first and third.

“He was having trouble with his command,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “He was having trouble with most all of his lefthanded hitters.”

Overall, 11 of the 20 batters that Kendrick faced reached base. Only one of them reached via extra-base hit. The rest were a combination of singles (7), walks (2) and a fourth-inning error on Rollins in which he collapsed to the ground over second base just before Kendrick released a throw off a sacrifice bunt from opposing starter Vicente Padilla. The Rollins play was a bizarre one, as the normally sure-handed (and sure-footed) shortstop appeared to have trouble finding second base, then lost his footing.”

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