LOS ANGELES - Lost in the concern about
sixth blown save yesterday in a 12-inning loss to Los Angeles was a positive development for the Phillies:
extended the team's run of excellent starting pitching on the trip and built on his own progress.
Blanton lasted six innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter, having allowed five hits and one run, a solo homer by Andre Ethier in the fourth. Phillies starters have allowed just three earned runs in their last 29 innings after fighting inconsistency for much of the early season.
Though he was not as efficient as he had been in recent starts, throwing 107 pitches in just six innings, Blanton continued a streak of effective outings. After he allowed five runs in five innings May 21 in Cincinnati, Blanton's earned run average was 7.11. He then lasted seven strong innings in two consecutive starts before yesterday, and his ERA is 5.46.
Blanton said that his three most recent appearances have had a similar feel.
"I felt like my stuff was coming out well [in those games]," he said. "When I'm letting it go, I've got a decent idea that I'm going to throw it where I want. The first few innings today, I made some quality pitches. It was one of those days where I kind of got away with a few things. . . . They hit a couple of fly balls deep on not very good pitches. Sometimes that's the way it goes. When you're throwing the ball well, you kind of get away with some things."
Rollins on the bench
After going 4 for 25 in the first five games of this trip and popping up with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning Friday,
was not in the starting lineup yesterday.
started at shortstop and went 0 for 2. Rollins pinch-hit in the ninth inning and lined out to second baseman
. He popped up in the 12th.
Rollins was batting .199 on May 15 but showed improvement after that, lifting his average to .230 by Monday, the first game of the trip. He hit .292 (21 for 72) during that span.
But the shortstop struggled all week, a stretch underscored by the decision of Dodgers manager Joe Torre to intentionally walk Matt Stairs in the eighth Friday to bring up Rollins with the bases loaded.
"He's not the only guy to ever have a bad season," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think he's still going to have a good season. I've seen him that way before. He's been there before. Jimmy's been where he's at before. . . . He'll find his swing. When, I wish I knew. But he will find it."
, who missed the first two games of the series with a sore hip, started in center field yesterday and went 0 for 5.
In case you were sleeping
pitched well enough Friday night to earn his 251st career win, lasting seven innings and allowing four hits and two runs against Los Angeles.
drove in two runs and
knocked in one, and the Phils entered the bottom of the ninth with a 3-2 lead.
But Lidge, who blew another save yesterday, loaded the bases (with help from a Pedro Feliz error on what could have been the third out). He then surrendered a walk-off hit to Ethier, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 win.
Honor thy mother
The back of Dodgers catcher
jersey reads "J. Martin," a change he made at the beginning of this season. Martin's parents separated when he was a child, and he wanted to honor his mother,