Maddux's First Dodger Start Forgettable

The White Knight, Greg Maddux, rode in on his gallant charger to save the fair damsel (Los Angeles) and promptly fell off his horse. Philadelphia pinned a completely forgettable 8-1 defeat on him in the first of four games in tiny Citizen's Bank Park. The Dodgers were held to five hits and one run, a home run by Andre Ethier in the first inning.

Maddux was the vintage Maddux over the first three innings, throwing 23 pitches, 19 of them strikes. Then with two out he allowed a two run homer to Ryan Howard in the fourth. No one knew at the time but that was all the runs they would need.

Three singles provided another run in the fifth and then the wheels fell of. Actually, so did the fenders, bumpers, two tires and the radiator. The Phils exploded for four runs after two were out and the outcome of the game became obvious.

There was a complete reversal of roles. Kyle Kendrick, who sought out Maddux's help in San Diego earlier in the year and received a 40 minute tutorial on the mental side of pitching and how to cope when you are struggling.

Maddux didn't know at the time that the student would turn on the teacher using his own techniques, but that was just what happened. Kendrick allowed five hits, three to James Loney, and a single run, Andre Ethier's home run in the first inning.

The Dodgers have now lost three of four games while scoring 10 runs (2.5 per game), dropping to 65-63 and were saved -- afor now at least -- when Florida nipped Arizona 6-5, so they are still just two back of the Diamondbacks.

"I would have liked to have started out a little bit better, obviously," Maddux said. "But I couldn't keep the ball in the park. You have to keep the ball in the park no matter where you pitch. When you give up five runs on two swings, it's hard to win."

Maddux retired the first six Phillies in order, allowed a single but erased him on a double play and struck out Kendrick.

At this point, at the end of the third inning, he had thrown only 23 pitches with 19 of them strikes. He looked 22 instead of 42.

He also took care of the first two batters in the fourth (now hitting 28 on the pitch-count meter), before issuing his first walk. Howard made him pay for that by pounding his 34th home run of the season into the second row of seats in right field and, as quick as a lightening strike, the Dodgers were behind 2-1.

"Actually it wasn't a bad pitch," Maddux said, "he's just so gosh-darn strong."

Three straight singles in the third made it 3-1 but Maddux escaped without further damage. However, in the sixth he allowed three more singles and a sac fly that upped the ante to 4-1. Then catcher Chris Coste applied the coup de gras with the Phillies second homer of the game, a deadly three-run shot.

Manager Joe Torre called it a night for Maddux at that point and Tanyon Sturtze got a fly ball to end the inning. Ramon Troncoso issued the Phils third homer in the seventh.

While most Dodgers fans were hoping for the same sort of start he had when he joined the club in 2006, six hitless innings, they nearly got just that before the home run in the fourth. But it doesn't mean that the club made a mistake in acquiring him.

The timing, first start and all, is regrettable. It's not good form to allow seven runs the first time a team puts you on the mound, but it happens.

But catcher Russell Martin, who also caught Maddux in his first incarnation as a Dodger, voiced his opinion. "He's the same guy, totally the same," was the diagnosis.

Over the past four games, it looks as if Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake have taken on the look of the rest of the team instead of the other way around. Ramirez, who walked twice, and Blake were both 0-for-2.

On the other side of the field, Philadelphia entered the game scoring only 3.1 runs per contest over the past 19 games and hadn't scored more than seven runs since July 31 but they quickly changed all of that.

Kendrick rebounded from two poor outings and allowed only a first-inning homer by Ethier. He had given up 13 runs on 15 hits in seven innings his last two outings, including an 8-6 loss against the Dodgers on Aug. 11 in Los Angeles.

So, paraphrasing Gertrude Stein, "a loss is a loss is a loss" and the Dodgers and Phillies meet again this afternoon in the second of four games, L.A. fortunately only two games behind.

The Dodgers have never been more than five games over .500 this season, and that occurred in early May.

"The way things have been going this year, certainly when the season started, you would have envisioned something better than that," Torre said. "You get to 10 or 12 games over [.500] I think then you have a chance to go somewhere in our division."

Rookie Clayton Kershaw, some 22 years younger than Maddux, will try his hand at keeping the ball inside Citizens Bank Park today.

Kershaw has allowed just six homers in 72.2 innings and has not given up multiple homers in any of his 14 Major League starts. But the Phillies lead the National League with 172 long balls. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell rank among the top six in the NL with a combined 94 home runs, just four less than the Dodgers' total of 98.

Kershaw (2-3, 3.59 ERA) continue to impress, taming Milwaukee's potent lineup with a fifth consecutive quality start, while crafting an ERA of 1.45. Against the Brewers, Kershaw allowed only one run in six innings over 96 pitches.

Kershaw will face Phillies ace Cole Hamels for the second time in three starts. Hamels (10-8, 3.22 ERA) is starting against the Dodgers for the second time this month. He limited them to two runs in seven innings on Aug. 12, but the bullpen allowed the tying runs to score in the eighth.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	100 000 000-1	
Philadelphia	000 214 10x-8

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Kemp cf	        4  0  0  0  .298
Ethier rf	4  1  1  1  .278
Kent 2b	        4  0  0  0  .282
 Berroa 2b	0  0  0  0  .206
Ramirez lf	2  0  0  0  .394
 Ardoin c	0  0  0  0  .235
Loney 1b	4  0  3  0  .296
Martin c	3  0  0  0  .287
 Ozuna lf	1  0  0  0  .176
Garciaparra ss	4  0  0  0  .250
Blake 3b	2  0  0  0  .260
Maddux p	2  0  0  0  .000
 Sturtze p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  1  0  .132
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	31 1  5 1
  Philadelphia	31 8 10 8

 Error- Martin (13). Two-base hit- Loney 
(31). HR- Ethier (16). RBI- Ethier (56).
LOB- Los Angeles 6, Philadelphia 3.
DP- Blake, Kent and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Maddux (0-1)	5.2  9  7-7  1  4  4.26
Sturtze	        0.1  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
Troncoso	2.0  1  1-1  1  1  4.13
 HBP- Blake. T- 2:28. Att- 42.620.
Hall of Fame Teammates
?With Maddux, Manny Ramirez and Jeff Kent in the lineup, the Dodgers started three likely future Hall of Famers for the first time since June 13, 1958, when Sandy Koufax started on the mound, Pee Wee Reese played third and Duke Snider was in center.

That had only happened five times in the 50 years since the franchise moved to Los Angeles, with the other three also occurring in April of 1958.

Dodgers Face A.L. West in 1009
The tentative 2009 National League schedule, not yet approved or released, has the Dodgers meeting the A.L. West in their 18-game interleage part of the season.

In addition to their usual home-and-home with the Angels -- the two clubs will play three-game series May 22-24 at Dodger Stadium and June 19-21 at Angel Stadium -- the Dodgers will host three-game series against the Oakland A's on June 16-18 and the Seattle Mariners on June 26-28.

The Dodgers also will play June 12-14 at Texas plus a series June 26-28 at Chicago.

The Dodgers are scheduled to begin the season by playing 14 consecutive games. They open the season on the road, with a four-game series at San Diego starting April 6 followed by a three-game series at Arizona starting April 10. The home opener is against the Giants on April 13.

The season also will conclude at home against the Rockies with a three-game series Oct. 2-4.

Dodger Blue Notes --Center fielder Andruw Jones missed his fourth consecutive game on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with Las Vegas last night at Colorado Springs, after injuring his surgically repaired right knee when he stepped in a hole chasing a fly ball earlier this week. Jones' injury isn't believed to be serious, and he could return to the lineup as soon as tonight. ...The Dodgers had won six straight and eight of 10 against Philadelphia before the loss. ...Delwyn Young, also in Vegas on rehab, whatcked a pair of doubles and a triple. ...Matt Kemp entered the series batting .392 against the Phillies, the third-highest mark among active players, but went 0-for-4 in the opener. ...Los Angeles has been in sole possession of second place in the National League West for 105 days of the season. ...Reliever Cory Wade is scheduled to make a one-game rehab appearance Monday, probably at Great Lakes, after which he will be activated from the 15-day DL if all goes well.

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