Tonight was the beginning of the Ryne Sandberg era for the Philadelphia Phillies. Tonight’s game almost seemed secondary, based on the fact that long-time manager, 2008 World Series winner, and fan-favorite manager Charlie Manuel was not in the dugout tonight for the first time since 2004. The beloved “Cholly” is now just the newest name and most recent member of Phillies baseball lore.
Yet on such a surreal day for Phillies fans, there was still a game to be played. That game was the first of three games between the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers and the Phillies, and the first of at least 42 games that interim manager Ryne Sandberg would manage. Unfortunately, it was also another Phillies loss. Los Angeles starter Zack Greinke outdueled Cliff Lee, and was very efficient in shutting down the Phillies offense through 7 and 1/3 innings, helping the Dodgers shut out the Phillies in a 4-0 win.
Lee pitched well through 8 innings, but as has been the case several times this season, Lee’s best was not good enough, due to a non-existent Phillies offense. Through 3 innings, Lee had a low pitch count and was pitching well, but gave up a 2-run home run to Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the 4th inning, making it 2-0 Dodgers.
While the two pitchers dueled in the middle innings, the Dodgers would add a run in the 7th inning with catcher A.J. Ellis on first base. Second baseman Mark Ellis would drop what looked to be a routine single into left field, but Domonic Brown would dive for the ball instead of playing it on one hop. Brown missed the ball, which rolled to the wall. This brought A.J. Ellis home to make it a 3-0 Los Angeles lead. Scott Van Slyke would tack on another run in the top of the 9th off of Justin De Fratus, scoring Hanley Ramirez, making it 4-0. Closer Kenley Jansen shut down the Phillies in the 9th and picked up the save.
Cliff Lee would pitch rather well, lasting 8 innings, allowing 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, and striking out 6 batters on 110 pitches. But Zack Greinke pitched better, earning the Dodgers a win by lasting 7 and 1/3 innings, allowing just 3 hits, no earned runs, 4 walks, and striking out 3.
The Phillies drop their third straight game, and move to 53-68 on the season. The Dodgers are now 21 games over .500 at 71-50. The two teams will meet again at 7:05 tomorrow night when one of the National League’s best pitchers in Clayton Kershaw (11-7, 1.88 ERA) takes on Kyle Kendrick (10-9, 4.48 ERA).
Tonight’s game was the first since October 3rd, 2004 that Charlie Manuel was not in the dugout to manage the Phillies. The 69-year old now-former manager had managed the Phillies for the last 1,416 regular season games. The Phillies had the best overall record in the National League since Charlie took over at the beginning of the 2005 season.
Since Ryne Sandberg is now the new manager, his spot as third base coach was given to former first base coach Juan Samuel. Assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner will take over as the new first base coach.
Phillies starter John Lannan, who exited Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Nationals with a knee injury, is headed to the 15-day disabled list. Relief pitcher B.J. Rosenberg has been called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill the roster spot. It has not been announced who will replace Lannan in the pitching rotation, although all signs point to Tyler Cloyd being called up from Triple-A.
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