Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers are a Study in Contrasts This Weekend

By Mike Gibson
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s hard-to-believe-but-true department is the story of two baseball teams who met at the crossroads and went in totally opposite directions.

During the last weekend of June, the Los Angeles Dodgers actually had a worse record than the Philadelphia Phillies. The Dodgers exploded, while the Phillies imploded.

That was the weekend the Dodgers took three out of four and Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins uttered his, “I’m not disappointed at all” comment. He’s been disappointed a lot since.

The two teams meet Friday night in a three-game series that begins at Citizens Bank Park and where the teams are is a lesson in what might have been for the Phillies and what is for the Dodgers. All that is left for the Phillies is to play a spoiler’s role and the Dodgers have to be now considered one of the best teams in baseball.

How did it happen?

The Phillies starting pitching, which through June led baseball in quality starts, fell apart. Since the bullpen fell apart long before that, they had no pitching. That, along with being the 26th-place run-producing team in the sport caused a free fall of Black Friday proportions.

The Dodgers and Phillies have been polar opposites since the All-Star break. The Phillies have won only five times since taking a 48-48 record into the break. The Dodgers have lost only three times. If the Dodgers win their next two games, they will go 42-8 and that will be the best stretch of baseball any team has seen since the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals. The Phillies have lost 19 of their last 23 games.

The Dodgers have won eight straight. It doesn’t figure to get any better for the Phillies tonight, even with ace Cliff Lee on the mound. Lee started off at 10-2 and now he’s 10-5 and has given up three or more runs in each of his last five starts. His ERA since that Dodgers’ series is 5.64.

The Phillies are where they are on merit and so are the Dodgers, but this weekend some Phillies fans can be excused for saying, “that could have been us,” because the Dodgers were exactly where the Phillies were in late June, at least by the cold, hard numbers of their respective records.

Mike Gibson is a Philadelphia Phillies writer for Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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