The fact that Arizona beat Florida to stretch their lead to three full games is of less importance than what has happened to a club so full of confidence only a week ago.
The addition of Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake seemed to energize them and when Greg Maddux came on board, it seemed as if that might just be the final piece to the puzzle.
Manager Joe Torre suggested that the lack of offense has much to do with the fact that Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are 1-for-16 in the series and 3-for-24 over the past three games.
Ramirez slugged six homers and drove in 21 runs while hitting .424 in his first two weeks in Los Angeles, but since he has just four singles in 16 at-bats (.250) and no RBIs. Blake has just three hits in his past 24 at-bats (.125) without any RBIs, after hitting four homers and driving in 12 runs to start the month. Nomar Garciaparra is hitless in his past 15 at-bats.
Over the last five games, the Dodgers have hit only .106 (5-for-47) from the seventh inning on and only two runners have been in scoring position during that time.
However, with Maddux allowing seven runs and Kershaw giving up six, the problems go deeper than the lack of hitting. .
"It seems like all teams go through stuff like this," Blake said. "It's nothing to panic about, but it's disappointing. We're all disappointed in the peformances we have had lately. But we have played this game long enough to know that it's just part of the game. The worm will turn one of these days."
Kershaw (2-4) didn't pitch as badly as it seemed, allowing seven hits and six runs, following a five game stretch where he had posted a 1.45 ERA.
Park factors make a big difference in results. The power-shy Dodgers are better suited to playing in spacious Dodger Stadium than they are in the cramped Philadelphia park that is taylor-made for their power hitters.
Kershaw hit the leadoff man in the first inning, gave up a single and then Pat Burrell lined a ball that curled around the foul pole down the left field line and the Phillies led 3-0.
James Loney, who has broken out of his slump and has six hits in the last 10 at bats, doubled to left and Russell Martin crushed a shot well up into the left field seats to cut the margin to a single run.
Kershaw was solid over the next three innings, allowing only a pair of one-base hits before a single, a walk and a fly ball to center that Kemp couldn't pick up dropped for an RBI double. Ryan Howard then rammed a second double to right field and the lead moved to 6-2.
Jason Johnson and Joe Beimel combined to let Philadelphia draw another three in the seventh and put the game well out of reach. Kershaw singled in the fifth to break a career 0-for-19 and the Dodgers didn't get a hit after that, the four-inning streak broken only when pinch-hitting Juan Pierre lived on an error in the eighth.
"It's the course of a season," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "You're going to go through some good times, and you're going to go through some flat times. Right now, we're sort of forcing it at this point and time, and we're not as selective and we're not as patient as we've been during the times that we were putting some good numbers up. Right now I'm the only patient one on the team."
The 65-64 Dodgers give the ball to RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-9, 3.97 ERA) who will be making his first start after taking a shot off his left ankle against Colorado. He said it wasn't serious but things like that seem to have a delayed reaction and the Dodgers will keep a close eye on him.?
RHP Joe Blanton (6-12, 4.87 ERA) has allowed four earned runs in five innings in each of his last two starts but the Dodgers have been making almost any starter look like Cy Young recently.
Score by innings Los Angeles 002 000 000-2 Philadelphia 300 033 00x-9 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Kemp cf 4 0 0 0 .295 Ethier rf 4 0 0 0 .276 Kent 2b 4 0 0 0 .279 RDamirez lf 4 0 1 0 .367 Garciaparra ss 4 0 0 0 .242 Blake 3b 4 0 1 0 .260 Loney 1b 3 1 1 0 .296 Martin c 3 1 1 2 .287 Kershaw p 2 0 1 0 .050 Johnsonp 0 0 0 0 .000 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Pierre ph 1 0 0 0 .276 Troncoso p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 33 2 5 2 Philadelphia 33 9 10 9 Two-base hit- Loney. (32). HR- Martin (12). RBI- Martin 2 (56). LOB- Los Angeles 4, Philadelphia 7 Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Kershaw (2-4) 4.0 7 6-6 2 5 4.11 Johnson 1.1 2 3-3 1 1 3.96 Beimel 1.2 1 0-0 1 2 1.75 Troncoso 1.0 0 0-0 0 2 3.99 HBP- by Kershaw, by Johnson. T- 2;41 ATT- 45,091.Dodger Blue Notes-- Kershaw recorded his first career Major League hit. "It's not really a consolation prize, but at least it's a hit," Kershaw said. ...Kuroda held the Phillies to one run on two hits in a 79-pitch, seven-inning outing on Aug. 14 in Los Angeles. ...Manny Ramirez is hitting .609 (14-for-23) with a homer and eight RBIs in his career against Blanton. Andre Ethier is 4-for-6 with a homer. ...The Dodgers are in a stretch of playing three straight nationally televised contests. They played Saturday's game on FOX and will play today's game on ESPN and Monday's contest on ESPN2. Next Sunday's game against the D-backs in Phoenix will be televised by ESPN2.