The Philadelphia Phillies are the polar opposite of the Los Angeles Dodgers in multiple ways. The Phillies collapsed for Charlie Manuel and fired him, while the Dodgers rose up for Don Mattingly and have barely lost in two months. And while Philadelphia used to have the most dominant pitchers in baseball, Los Angeles rules the mound now, as Clayton Kershaw backed up again on Aug. 17.
For the second straight game, the Dodgers shut out the Phillies, this time by 5-0. After Zack Greinke held the Phillies to just three hits and no runs on Aug. 16, Kershaw had the exact same stats. Like Greinke, Kershaw only got into real trouble in the eighth inning, yet Philadelphia couldn’t break through with its one real opportunity.
After the Phillies failed to erase a 2-0 deficit with two men on in the eighth, Juan Uribe sealed the deal with a three-run homer. However, the game was really over when the Dodgers scored a run in the first, leaving Kershaw to breeze from there.
The Cy Young favorite lowered his ERA to 1.80 for the year, while the Dodgers increased their record to 42-8 since June 22. As for the Phillies, they haven’t even scored a single run since Ryne Sandberg replaced Manuel. Since Philadelphia threw Manuel under the bus by firing him early, and threw Sandberg under it by making him face Greinke, Kershaw and the Dodgers right off the bat, perhaps this is all it deserves.
Los Angeles is looking more and more deserving of a championship -- like the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals and 1906 Chicago Cubs got when they went on a 42-8 run. The last two times the Dodgers even threatened for a World Series, they were beaten by Manuel’s Phillies in the 2008 and 2009 NLCS. Yet as this weekend keeps proving, the Dodgers and Phillies have gone on very different paths since then.