Dodgers Set a Record in Futility

On the strength of the 5-0 win, Philadelphia swept Los Angeles for the first time in 23 years as the Dodgers elevator, headed down since arriving in town, hit the bottom with a sickening thump. It was the Dodgers seventh loss in nine games and despite the humiliating sweep, they remain only three games behind the equally inept Arizona Diamondbacks who lost to San Diego.

In the history of the game, only two teams have had more hits without scoring in a nine-inning game: The New York Giants got 14 hits in a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 14, 1913, and the Cleveland Indians had 14 hits in a 9-0 loss to the Washington Senators on July 10, 1928.

It was the Phillies' first four-game sweep over the Dodgers since Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, 1985, at Los Angeles. Philadelphia had never swept the Dodgers in a four-game series at home.

Despite adding a future Hall of Fame manager, a future Hall of Famer outfielder and pitcher and a talented third baseman; despite switching batting coaches more often than a prospective bride switches silverware patterns, there seems to be nothing can be done for a team seemingly trapped in mediocrity.

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley (12-10) allowed only three runs and seven hits in six innings. If CC Sabathia, who professes a desire to pitch for the Dodgers, reads the box score of the game, he might have a change of heart.

Brett Myers pitched out of trouble all night and Jimmy Rollins, locked in a 4-for-46 (.087) slump, snapped out of it by going 3-for-3 with a walk and a hit by pitch, falling a homer short of the cycle.

The Dodgers were issued six walks to go with the 13 hits and left 14 men on base. They were 1-fof-17 with runners in scoring position. In the final two games of the series Los Angeles was 3-for-27 with RISP.

Matt Kemp doubled twice and singled, Russell Martin singled three times and Andre Ethier and Angel Berroa each had a pair of hits. The two most recent additions, Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake each went 0-for-4.

The Dodgers left town having scored five runs in four games, three of them on home runs by Ethier and Martin.

Third base coach Larry Bowa, who has been more lonely than the Maytag repair man over the last week, was furious and after he game spoke for long-suffering Dodgers fans everywhere.

"If you can't get up emotionally and mentally when you're two or three games out of first place, you need to find another job, another occupation," Bowa fumed. "That's what I see. I've seen teams play like this when they're 30 games out. There's no excuse for it.

"It's not one person. It's all of us. It's everybody that puts on a Dodger uniform. We should all be embarrassed by the way we played the last four days."

The Dodgers were outscored in the series 27-5 in a new but tiny little ballpark. They have fallen below .500 for the first time since July 26 and lost four consecutive games for the first time since June 12-15.

The Dodgers have scored three runs or fewer in seven consecutive games, and Chad Billingsley actually apologized to Manager Joe Torre after he pitched six innings and gave up three runs.

"We're just putting too much pressure on our starters, because every single inning they don't want to give up anything, and in doing that, they're trying to make perfect pitches every time," Torre said. "You can't do that. One hand washes the other here. We need to work together so the pitchers don't feel like they're under that pressure constantly."

The Dodgers' elderly gentlemen have been off their game.

Nomar Garciaparra had the day off but in 11 games since the Dodgers activated him from the disabled list he is batting .163 with no extra-base hits. Blake is batting .218 this month and has not driven in a run in nine games. Jeff Kent has one extra-base hit in his last 10 games.

The Dodgers' remaining schedule includes Washington, Pittsburgh, three series against San Diego, two against San Francisco and one at Colorado besides six big games against Arizona, three at home and three away.

RHP Derek Lowe (10-10, 3.89 ERA) will open against the Nationals and has had trouble his season pitching on the road, going 7-3 at home and 3-7 away from Dodger Stadium.?

He will face RHP Collin Balester (2-6, 4.99 ERA) who is on a personal three-game losing streak. The coming matchups:
Wednesday: Greg Maddux, 6-10, 4.25 vs Tim Redding, 8-8, 4.54)
?Thursday: Clayton Kershaw, 2-4, 4.11) vs John Lannan, 7-12, 3.95
?Friday: Hiroki Kuroda, 7-9, 3.87 at Diamondbacks Yusmeiro Petit, 3-3, 2.83.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles  	000 000 000-0    
Philadelphia	001 020 20x-5

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Kemp cf	        4  0  3  0  .298
Ethier rf	5  0  2  0  .277
Kent 2b	        5  0  1  0  .282
Ramirez lf	4  0  0  0  .361
Loney 1b	5  0  1  0  .296
Martin c	4  0  3  0  .288
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .250
Berroa ss	3  0  2  0  .220
Billingsley p	1  0  0  0  .078
 Sweeney ph	1  0  1  0  .143
 Park p	        0  0  0  0  .111
 Pierre ph	1  0  0  0  .277
 Sturtze p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	39 0 13 0
  Philadelphia	32 5 10 4

 Two-base hits- Kemp 2 (36). LOB- Los
Angeles 14, Philadelphia 11. DP- Blake,
Kemp and Loney.

 Los Angeles	        in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (12-10)	6.0  7  3-3  5  3  3.15
Park        	        1.0  3  2-2  0  0  2.67
Sturtze        	        1.0  0  0-0  1  1  0.00
 PB- Martin. WP- Billingsley. HBP- by Billingsley.
T- 3:00. Att- 40,873.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Ramirez doesn't have an RBI in the last seven games. ...Cory Wade (right shoulder inflammation) gave up one hit in one scoreless inning Monday in a Minor League rehab start for Great Lakes. He could return to the Majors as early as Wednesday. ...Jason Schmidt (shoulder surgery) will have his scheduled Minor League rehab appearance pushed back to Friday so he can meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who returned to the country after working the Olympics.