An ominous opening to Phillies’ West Coast trip originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Phillies haven’t won a series at Dodger Stadium in seven years and didn’t get off to a good start in Monday’s series opener, stranding a small village in a 3-1 loss.
The Phils had a golden opportunity in the first inning against Tony Gonsolin, who has been erratic in two starts this season since returning from a shoulder injury.
The Phils had runners on second and third with nobody out in the opening frame when Odubel Herrera worked a walk and Jean Segura doubled. J.T. Realmuto then struck out, and Rhys Hoskins popped out weakly after Bryce Harper’s RBI single. Hoskins is 0 for 30 since June 5 and his batting average has slipped to .238.
The Phillies stranded the bases loaded when Alec Bohm struck out. Coming away with one run in that inning felt like a fail, especially against a team like the Dodgers who require you to play clean and capitalize on rare opportunities. They’re 40-26 for a reason.
In the fourth inning, the first two Phillies reached before Ronald Torreyes and Spencer Howard were called out on strikes. Home plate umpire Mike Estabrook did not have a good night. His strike zone was large and inconsistent. Realmuto had three pitches outside the zone called strikes in his first two at-bats, and Estabrook missed three more to Torreyes and Howard in the fourth inning.
Still, the Phillies had another chance in the inning and couldn’t do anything with it. They went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
“It’s tough,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I don’t think we got much help from the umpire in the one inning with Howard and Torreyes, and that’s pretty frustrating. We got some opportunities and we didn’t cash in on them. That’s the difference in the game.”
The Phillies have two more with the Dodgers before an off-day Thursday and then three in San Francisco. While the Dodgers have won six of seven, this is actually an opportune time to catch them because their top three lefty hitters — Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy — are all out with injuries, making the lineup much more manageable. The Phillies also miss Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler.
But Monday night was the night to take advantage of a weaker opposing pitcher. The Phils draw two tough lefties the next two nights in Julio Urias (9-2, 3.56 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. The Phils counter with Zach Eflin and Zack Wheeler.