I have to say, it was hard to watch today’s 8-3 win over the Phillies without cringing, at least a little. If you remember, before the game I shared some tweets from Phillies beat reporter Ryan Lawrence about how today’s Philadelphia lineup just might have been the worst defensive group he could ever remember the club putting out. That proved prescient, since the Phillies went out and committed three errors, including two in a row by third baseman Ty Wigginton in the fourth inning – and easily could have been charged with a fourth on an Andre Ethier ball which went off first baseman John Mayberry‘s glove in the ninth inning, on which two runs scored. It’s not like the Dodgers didn’t contribute to the sloppy game either, making two miscues of their own, but if we’re not seeing the dying days of the Philadelphia dynasty, it sure felt like something close to it.
Still, that’s a Phillies problem, and after the back-to-back beatings the Dodgers took at their hands in the NLCS in 2008 and 2009, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for them. All that matters now is that this team went into Philadelphia, knowing they had to face both Cliff Lee & Cole Hamels, and took all four games, sweeping a four-game set there for the first time since 1946. As someone on Twitter pointed out, and apologies for not marking down who, the Dodgers rolled into Philly and swept all four games despite a grand total of one hit from Ethier & Matt Kemp. (And as noted above, that Ethier double could easily have stayed an error, as it was originally scored.)
Aaron Harang was solid if not overwhelming, keeping the Phillies off the board in five of six innings, though allowing them to take a 3-0 lead with three in the third. (Though all three runs were earned, both of the Dodger errors came in that frame, which didn’t help matters.) Once again, the mighty mite Dodger offense struck back without the benefit of the big blow, as Ethier’s double was the only one of the 12 Dodger hits which went for more than one base. Each Dodger starter had at least one other than Alex Castellanos & Elian Herrera, and Herrera more than made up for that with two walks and two runs scored.
Really, if there was any downside to what was otherwise a wonderful sweep, it was the debut of Shawn Tolleson, who threw 10 pitches in the ninth and saw only two cross the plate, walking each of the two hitters he faced. Ronald Belisario was forced to enter to clean up the mess.
Continuing their “20 games in 20 days” marathon, the Dodgers head off to Seattle to kick off their interleague schedule tomorrow night. With 37 wins, they’re four ahead of Texas and five ahead of Washington (who have each either lost or are in the process of losing today) for the best record in baseball; potentially more impressive, at least to me, is that their +41 run differential is behind only Texas and St. Louis for the best in the game. Your 2012 Dodgers, ladies and gentlemen. Just as we expected!