An ominous opening to Phillies' West Coast trip


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. 

They 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 struck out, and Rhys Hoskins popped out weakly after Bryce Harper’s RBI single set up a big inning. 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 costly, especially against 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 and did not favor the Phillies. Realmuto had three pitches outside the zone called strikes in his first two at-bats, and Estabrook missed three more in the fourth inning. 

Still, the Phillies had another chance in the inning and couldn’t cash in. 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 three in San Francisco. The Dodgers and Giants have the two best records in the National League. 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 more manageable what was and is the deepest lineup in the league. The Phillies also miss Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler.

Monday night was a 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. They counter with Zach Eflin and Zack Wheeler.