Bumpen Meltdown Ruins Stephen Fife’s Dodger Debut

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Another night, and another frustrating loss for the Dodgers. The losses are piling up as the team continues it’s free fall in the standings. All the while Management refuses to cut anyone or make any changes. They want to go with the guys they have. Yeah that should turn out well.

Before the game Chad Billingsley was placed on the DL with his elbow injury, and spot starter Stephen Fife was called up to make a spot start. Bills is due to come back on Monday. His injury isn’t serious and his DL stint is retroactive. Meanwhile, Fife was surprisingly effective as he pitched six innings on 90 pitches allowing only one run on four hits and out-dueling Roy Halladay, as he left with a 2-1 lead. It is expected that the spot starter will be sent back down to AAA tomorrow.

Doc Halladay was making his own return from the DL, and pitched five innings before being pulled because of a pitch count. The Phillies scored a run in the first inning to jump ahead 1-0. The Dodgers were able to string together four consecutive hits in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead. The first lead they have had in weeks it seems. Of course the bullpen would blow the lead with two outs in the top of the eighth, in a truly pathetic Meltdown that Jonathon Broxton himself would be proud of.

Not before the Phillies tried to tie it up in the sixth inning when Ryan Howard walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, and tried to score from second on a Hunter Pence single, but was gunned down at the plate on a great throw from Matt Kemp.

The Phillies would score two runs in the top of the eighth, when with two outs, Ronald Belisario would allow a walk, and hit two batters. Kenley Jansen was called in for a four out save, and served up a  two run single to Hunter Pence that blew the lead, and the game to the Phillies by a score of 3-2. Kyle Kendrick picked up the win in relief, and the loss was charged to Ronald Belisario for his little hit batterpalooza. Papelbon collected his 21st save of the season. Of course the Dodger’s offense shuffled off to buffalo for the rest of the night. They only had three hits after the second inning. How can the team win like this?

Stephen Fife begins his MLB career wearing some sporty new goggles, much like Ronald Belisario. He begins the game by immediately serving up a double to Jimmy Rollins, who is one of the hundred or so players the Dodgers are in discussions to trade for. That’s Rollins 22nd double of the season. Shane Victorino sacrifices Rollins to third. Chase Utley’s grounder scores Rollins, and the Dodgers are down 1-0. Fife retires Ryan Howard to end the frame cheaply enough.

The Dodgers go down 123 in the bottom of the first. Roy Halladay was reaching 90-91 on the radar gun. He seemed to be back to normal after spending time on the DL with a shoulder injury. Bobby Abreu leading off for the Dodgers, whiffs on a called third strike. The count was full and Bobby looks annoyed as he thought it was ball four. Mark Ellis also whiffs looking for two straight statues to start the game. Matt Kemp hits a long fly, but right at Juan Pierre for the third out.

Stephen Fife struggles in the top of the second but is able to get out of it without allowing any scorage. Carlos Ruiz grounds out. Hunter Pence walks. Pierre singles to right. Placido Polanco flies out to Ethier, and Halladay grounds out, ending the frame.

I guess I have to take back what I wrote earlier about Halladay looking fine, because the Dodgers plate two runs on four consecutive hits in the bottom of the second inning to take a 2-1 lead. Andre Ethier singles over Rollins head, and goes to third on Adam Kennedy’s bloop single that lands about a foot fair, just inside the right field line. James Loney singles home Ethier to tie the game at 1-1. Yes that’s right Loney! Luis Cruz singles in the second run, Loney goes to second, and the Dodgers take the lead now 2-1. A.J. Ellis lines into a broken bat double play. Cruz is doubled up of off first base. Loney goes to third on a wild pitch, but Fife whiffs in his first at-bat, and the inning ends.

Rollins, Victorino, and Utley all ground out in the top of the third. It seems like Fife is a groundball pitcher. Move to the bottom of the third. With one out, Mark Ellis singles up the middle, but Kemp grounds into an inning ending double play. Tis ok Bison.

Fife walks Big Nose Howard to start the top of the fourth. Fife uncorks a wild pitch, and Big Nose goes to second. Ruiz and Pence ground out, and Pierre flies to right. The Dodgers go down 123 in the bottom of the fourth. Halladay whiffs Ethier and Kennedy.

Fife finally records his first whiff in the top of the fifth, striking out Rollins. The rookie pitches another scoreless frame, the Dodgers still lead 2-1. Halladay pitches a scoreless frame in the bottom of the fifth as well, despite making a throwing error on a Fife grounder.

Fife and the Dodgers nearly blow their one run lead in the top of the sixth, but fortunately they hold on, thanks to a wonderful throw to the plate from Matt Kemp, and the Phillies foolish decision to send Big Nose from second on a Pence single. Big Nose walks with one, and advances to second on another wild pitch. On a side not here guys, how man wild pitches can we see every game? Anyways, Ruiz flies out to Kemp. Pence the next batter, singles to center. The Phillies foolishly try to score Big Nose from second base, who runs as slow as an ox. It almost worked too, but you know almost only counts in horseshoes. ( I have always wanted to say that). Kemp’s throw to the plate is right on the money, as Big Nose slides in head first, AJ makes the tag just in time. See ya! Sorry Big Nose but you just don’t run on Matt Kemp, you just don’t

Michael Schwimer, no relation to the actor from friends, takes over on the mound for Roy Halladay. Doc, was on a strict pitch count, and goes five innings allowing two runs on five hits, no walks, and six whiffs. He made 80 pitches. Mark Ellis flies out. Kemp sends a long fly ball to right field, Pence catches at the wall. Charlie Manual makes another pitching change, and brings in random noob Jeremy Horst, who is a lefty. He walks Ethier. Kennedy’s long fly to right makes Pe go back to the wall. He leaps up to make the catch and rob Kennedy.

With the Dodgers still clinging to a 2-1 lead, Fife is removed after making 90 pitches. He goes six frames, allowing one run four hits, three walks, and one whiff. He comes out ahead and in line for the win, should the Dodgers be able to hold onto the lead. Josh Lindblom who has been struggling of late, comes in to pitch. Pierre whiffs. Polanco grounds out, and Pinch-hitter Jason Pridie, flies out to center. Nice work Josh!

In the bottom of the seventh, Kyle Kendrick comes on to pitch. He gives up an AJ single but that’s it.

The lead was blown away in the top of the eighth inning. Remember last year whenever we had a lead the Bullpen would instantly blow it? Well, this harkens us back. Ronald Belisario quickly recorded two outs, and then completely lost it. Utley walks. Howard is hit by a pitch. Ruiz is hit by a pitch. Bases loaded. In comes Kenley Jansen. Out goes the game. Pence singles into center. Two runs scored, and of course the third run scores just ahead of the throw to third, as Kemp guns down Ruiz, only seconds after the third run scores. Figures.

Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo combine to pitch the bottom of the eighth. Jansen manages to pitch a scoreless top of the ninth. Phillies closer Jonathon Paplebon comes in to close up. Kennedy and Loney grounds out. Juan Rivera whiffs. A fittingly crappy end to the game.

The Dodgers now fall to 48-44 which is their worst record since April. The Giants win in Atlanta, so the Dodgers are now three games back, and have to face Cliff Lee tomorrow. They have lost four in a row, and four of their last five, and seven of their last ten. They are 18-32 over their last 50 games.

I tell you this, I am sick of hearing the same crap come out of Mattingly’s mouth. The management continues to do nothing. They need to make major roster changes on this team, and until they do that, they will continue to flounder in the standings. It’s embarrassing and frustrating. Tomorrow Clayton Kershaw will try to somehow snap the team out of this free fall. Although I can’t see how he could, considering he can’t hit for the other eight guys in the lineup. Tomorrow’s game is a businessman’s special at 1210PM, and the last game of the home-stand before the team embarks on another grueling ten game roadtrip. So skip work! Play hooky from School! Check in with us tomorrow, because It’s day Dodger Baseball at Chavez Ravine tomorrow! Go Blue.