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Maddux gets rude greeting

Phillies knock out the future Hall of Famer in the sixth inning of an 8-1 victory. Torre is looking for Dodgers to make some kind of move in standings.

August 23, 2008|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- They got Manny. They got Maddux. So far, they have gotten nowhere.

On the night the Dodgers traded for Manny Ramirez, they were two games out of first place in the National League West. They are two games out of first place today, losing no ground in the standings but losing three weeks on the calendar.

And, after Greg Maddux was routed in his latest Dodgers debut Friday -- an 8-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park -- Dodgers Manager Joe Torre set an audacious goal for a team with a record barely above .500.

"We keep teasing ourselves," Torre said. "We're two over now. We need to get to double digits to be realistic. . . . You get to 10 or 12 over, you have a chance to go somewhere."

To the playoffs, that is. But, for the Dodgers (65-63) to finish the season 10 games over .500, they would have to go 21-13 the rest of the way. Even with Ramirez and Maddux, that is asking a lot of a team that has not been more than five games above .500 all season.

The Dodgers lost for the fourth time in six games Friday -- their most lopsided loss in the Manny Era -- and scored three runs or fewer for the fifth time in six games. The Dodgers managed only five hits -- none by Ramirez, who walked twice, and three by James Loney -- including Andre Ethier's team-high 16th home run.

Cole Hamels, the Phillies' All-Star left-hander, awaits them today.

Maddux, who pitched six hitless innings in his first start after the Dodgers traded for him two years ago, pitched two hitless innings Friday. Then he gave up a single in the third inning -- and seven runs in the next 2 2/3 innings.

He gave up two home runs -- a two-run shot to Ryan Howard and a three-run shot to Chris Coste -- the first time since opening day that he has given up more than one home run.

"I gave up five runs on two swings," Maddux said. "It's hard to win when you do that."

The Phillies' ballpark is friendly for sluggers, so much so that Torre said Ethier's opposite-field ball might not have gone out at Dodger Stadium. Petco Park, the ballpark Maddux called home until the Dodgers brought him back this week, is friendly for pitchers.

"The park is not an excuse," Maddux said. "You have to keep the ball in the park no matter where you pitch."

And, amazingly enough, Maddux has given up nine home runs in 86 innings at Petco Park this year, nine in 73 innings everywhere else.

On the other hand, he has a 2.62 ERA in San Diego and a 6.16 ERA everywhere else. Opponents are batting .225 against him at Petco Park, .328 everywhere else.

Maddux said he had no explanation for the disparity.

"I wish I knew, man," he said. "I wish I knew."

The Dodgers' hitters might say the same thing. Russell Martin, who went hitless in three at-bats, is batting .248 in his last 34 games, with one home run. He also committed his 13th error, one shy of his career high.

Casey Blake is batting .179 in his last 15 games. Nomar Garciaparra is batting .176 in the 10 games since the Dodgers most recently activated him, with one extra-base hit.

None of the individual statistics matter, of course, if the Dodgers win. They must win, and not just occasionally.

"It is," Torre said, "all about the record now."

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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