Isn't California Supposed to be Relaxing?

The good news is that the Phillies only have to face Manny Ramirez (and Jeff Kent and Nomar Garciaparra and Andre Ethier) four more times in the next 10 games.

They can't take much more of this.

The Phillies fell into a first place tie with the New York Mets in the National League East after a 7-6 loss to the Dodgers last night at Dodger Stadium. The Phillies have lost three consecutive games to the Dodgers, losing the last two in the bottom of the ninth inning. Last night's loss came thanks to Garciaparra's solo homer to left field against Phillies righthander Clay Condrey.

But the Phillies had a 6-1 lead after the second inning and couldn't hold it.

It would have helped if the Phillies offense had more than one hit after the first inning, or if Joe Blanton had been more effective or if the bullpen could have held the lead. But all those things combined for another bad loss on this seven-game road trip.

"Basically, I just didn't have it," said Blanton, who allowed nine hits, four runs, three walks and two home runs in just five innings. "It was one of those games you really have to battle. The offense did a great job of getting me some runs early. That's really when you want to come out and have your good stuff and stick it right there. And I didn't."

"I thought about (scoring more runs), but we didn't do it," said Charlie Manuel, asked about the team's offense going into hibernation after the third inning. "I was thinking about needing more runs, yes. When they were creeping up on us? Yeah, that entered my mind. We better score some more. But thinking about them and getting them is two different things sometimes."


Chad Durbin allowed two runs to score in the eighth. In his last six appearances, Durbin is 1-0 with a 6.43 ERA (five earned runs in seven innings) and two blown saves. He has made a career-high 51 appearances this season, but said he does not feel tired.


The offense continues to be a problem, and the Phillies seem to be running out of answers.

"Recommend something for me. I might try it," Manuel said. "We're just not getting it done. Can we get it done? I don't know because we're not getting it done. Your performance speaks for itself. ... We've got some weak spots. Can we get it done? So far, we've had a hard time proving it."


In the Phillies Notebook: Shane Victorino's back injury and Gary Sheffield's chances of joining the Phillies outfield.