PHILADELPHIA -- The play did not determine the outcome of the game, but it did provide the perfect snapshot of an imperfect team when Jayson Werth scored from second base, on a ground ball to second base.
It would be tempting to say Werth and the Philadelphia Phillies ran circles around the Dodgers, completing a four-game sweep with a 5-0 victory Monday at Citizens Bank Park. It would be more accurate to say the Dodgers appeared a step slow, a bit tired.
And it would be an understatement to say that Larry Bowa, the Dodgers’ third base coach, was furious at the way his team has conducted itself in a pennant race.
After the Dodgers lost on a 13-hit shutout by Brett Myers and two relievers -- no major league team has been shut out on more hits in a nine-inning game since 1928 -- Bowa spoke up, in anger.
“If you can’t get up emotionally and mentally when you’re two or three games out of first place, you need to find another job, another occupation,” Bowa said. “That’s what I see. I’ve seen teams play like this when they’re 30 games out. There’s no excuse for it.
“It’s not one person. It’s all of us. It’s everybody that puts on a Dodger uniform. We should all be embarrassed by the way we played the last four days.”
The Dodgers were outscored in the series 27-5 -- five runs, in four days, in a bandbox. They’re still three games out of first place in the National League West, but they have fallen below .500 for the first time since July 26 and lost four consecutive games for the first time since June 12-15.
The Dodgers have scored three runs or fewer in seven consecutive games, the margin of error so thin that starter Chad Billingsley actually apologized to Manager Joe Torre after he pitched six innings and gave up three runs.
On Sunday, the Dodgers were two for 10 with runners in scoring position, including Casey Blake’s grounding into a 5-2 double play with the bases loaded and none out.
On Monday, they were one for 17 with runners in scoring position, including Jeff Kent’s going 0 for 4 in that situation and striking out twice when even a fly ball would have driven in a run.
Nomar Garciaparra, 35, did not start after starting 11 of 12 games since the Dodgers activated him from the disabled list. He is batting .163 since then, with no extra-base hits.
Blake, 35, has started every game since the Dodgers acquired him July 26. He is batting .218 this month and has not driven in a run in nine games.
“He may be a little tired,” Torre said.
“I appreciate Joe trying to come up with some excuses for me,” Blake said. “I just haven’t been very good.”
And then there is Kent, 40, who has one extra-base hit in his last 10 games. Torre gave Kent four games off in April, five in May, four in June and July, one in August.
“I’ll look at it the next three days, to see if we can fit one in,” Torre said.
Kent was the one who appeared a step slow charging the chopper on which Werth scored from second. Torre credited Werth, who was trying to steal, and said Kent was in “no man’s land.”
Bowa said Kent needed to handle the play more quickly.
Kent said he had to monitor Werth breaking from second, another runner coming from first, the batter and the batted ball.
“I’m not a wizard,” Kent said.