For one night against the Braves, the Phillies made us believe that everything was going to be just fine. On Monday night, Cole Hamels pitched like an ace, Cody Asche hit a three run homer, and the Phillies walked away with a victory.
Predictably, the good times didn’t continue. In the second game, Ethan Martin continued to show that as a starter, he might make a pretty good reliever. In the finale, John Lannan had to leave the game in the second inning due to an injury that may end his Phillies career. I’ll let you decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
The Phillies aren’t going to get a break this weekend, as they have to face another first place team in the Los Angeles Dodgers.
What’s the Deal with the Dodgers
The Dodgers have been on a bit of a roll lately. Since the All-Star break, they have run up a 23-3 record with 13 wins already in the month of August. (Yes, it’s only August 16th) The Dodgers are currently in the midst of an eight-game winning streak after Wednesday’s comeback victory over the Mets.
Remember when the Dodgers traded for all of those expensive stars last year? They basically said, “We don’t care how much it costs us. We’re going to accumulate as much talent as possible.” There just might be something to that approach. Hitters like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez may not be cheap, but they are productive.
As the Phillies discovered two years ago, it can be beneficial to have a starting rotation anchored by two Cy Young Award winners. In Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Dodgers have two of the best pitchers in the league. Good news for the Phillies: They’re both scheduled to pitch in this series.
Dodgers Player Who Isn’t Entirely Horrible
You might have heard of this Yasiel Puig fellow. He’s a rookie, he’s from Cuba, and he’s been demolishing the ball since making his debut in early June. You can pretty much hand him the Rookie of the Year award right now.
While there’s a chance that he might actually be older than the 22 years at which he is listed, I’m sure that doesn’t provide much comfort to all of the pitchers whom he’s terrorized. It almost seems unfair for him to be able to face some of the Phillies relievers.
Dodgers Player Who Is Horrible
On a team that is this hot, it’s hard to find anyone who is playing that poorly. But I suppose that reliever Brandon League isn’t doing that much to help the cause.
League started off the season as the Dodgers closer before blowing a bunch of saves and being demoted to a setup role. Based on his middling results in that role, the chances are slim that League will be receiving too many save opportunities in the future.
It should be noted that League would still probably be the best reliever in the Phillies bullpen.
Tweet of Optimism
Roy Halladay’s pitching line today for the Gulf Coast League Phillies: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 87 pitches.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 15, 2013
The potential return of Roy Halladay gives Phillies fans something to possibly look forward to.
Tweet of Pessimism
Phillies are now 500/1 to win the World Series, per @bovadalv. Value! Dodgers are faves at 9/2.
— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) August 16, 2013
In other words, the Phillies will be slight underdogs in this series.
The Dodgers probably won’t stay this hot for the rest of the season, and there have been plenty of instances where a team headed to the postseason suffers a late-season hiccup against a non-contender. So there is a chance the Phillies can come out of the series with a couple of victories. But I wouldn’t count on it.
Tags: Baseball Brandon League Clayton Kershaw Cole Hamels Ethan Martin John Lannan Los Angeles Dodgers Mike Lacy MLB Philadelphia Phillies Phillies Series Preview Roy Halladay Series Preview Yasiel Puig Zack Greinke