This is the post-Hamels Phillies rotation. Jerome Williams, Aaron Harang, and David Buchanan are the best possible arms the Phillies feel they could throw at the first place Dodgers over a three game series.
Williams actually fended off the hot L.A. lineup well yesterday, for a guy who allowed base runners at a near constant rate. It wasn't a good performance, but it was enough that a Maikel Franco grand slam could keep the Phillies a head.
So, as long as the Phillies could get a hot-hitting rookie third baseman to execute baseball's highest scoring play for the second consecutive night, they'd be fine. Aaron Harang, starting tonight, isn't having too much better, or too less injured, a season than Williams. But it turns out he didn't have the benefit of a four-run Franco dinger, or the luck Williams had with base runners while riding the lightning all night, and he was gone after five innings (as is his profile these days).
It started in the first, when Yasiel Puig pounded a three-run bomb onto the scoreboard after Harang allowed back-to-back singles. In the third, Franco did his best to give Harang the similar support, but his home run couldn't quite get over the wall and was instead a long RBI double that knocked in Odubel Herrera.
3-1 was still manageable, and perhaps Harang had the runs out of his system; a fool's thought, but one I cannot escape having. Harang actually held the Dodgers scoreless after Puig's home run until the fifth inning, when an Adrian Gonzalez ground-out scored Jimmy Rollins, smoothing out the small dent in the deficit Franco had made.
The Phillies bullpen took over, and Hector Neris got on the mound, logging two swift outs in the sixth, including another sharp defensive play by Franco, the only player on the Phillies according to this recap. Here, let's look at Jeff Francoeur throwing Joc Pederson out at third in the fourth inning, just in case this is one of those Phillies blogs that doesn't just want to hear about how great Maikel Franco is for some reason.
ICYMI, here is Frenchy throwing out Joc Pederson in the fourth. pic.twitter.com/Cqcwq6G7CG— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 6, 2015
There. Are you happy, Jeff Francoeur fans? Great.
Anyway, it would take more than fun defense and a visit from a madly bristling Bob McClure to escape the inning, however, as Neris allowed two walks and a single to load the bases with two outs - Dodger base runners were common on this night, as Phillies pitchers allowed NINE WALKS, five from Harang alone along with seven hits and one strikeout - only to K Andre Ethier and end the threat.
Franco was close on the next Phillies' rally as well - not in that he contributed to it; in fact, he struck out looking. But right after that, in the eighth inning, Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run home run that brought the Phillies within a run.
Then Kenley Jensen struck out the side in the ninth. Zach Greinke pitches tomorrow. Everybody into your shelters.