Durbin, Phils can't contain Dodgers
Bullpen lets game get out of hand after spot starter departs
PHILADELPHIA -- Thanks to the Orioles setting a new Major League record for bad pitching, the 15 runs allowed by the Phillies on Wednesday represented a mere half of the total surrendered by Baltimore.It didn't hurt half as much. Philadelphia started J.D. Durbin, and a bullpen combo of Jose Mesa and Clay Condrey permitted the Dodgers to reach their season high in runs scored, in an easy 15-3 dismantling of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Los Angeles scored in the opening inning against Durbin (5-3) when Andre Ethier stroked a two-out double. He added two more runs with a fourth-inning homer. Jeff Kent doubled ahead of Ethier's homer, and doubled and scored in Durbin's sixth and final inning. "A couple of pitches hurt me," Durbin said. "I have to execute pitches and I didn't do too great today." Durbin entered with a 4-1 record and a 4.11 ERA in his five Phillies starts, before surrendering five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and three walks in six innings. Unfortunately for Durbin, he didn't bring his bullpen session to the mound. "His stuff in the bullpen is always so good that every time we make that walk [from the bullpen to the dugout], I have goose bumps, literally," said catcher Chris Coste, who homered. "Today was one of those days. His stuff in the bullpen was phenomenal." Durbin's style of pitching, according to Coste, is not to aim for spots. He just cocks his electric arm, aims for the middle and lets the natural movement push it to one of the sides. Wednesday's assortment of pitches, particularly his slider, didn't move. "Today, too many of his pitches stayed in the middle and got hit," Coste said. Mesa made the evening messier by allowing five runs in one-third of an inning. "It got ugly at the end," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. While Durbin was originally going to start Thursday, Wednesday illustrates the huge void created by the loss of ace Cole Hamels, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the afternoon, rather than chucking against the Dodgers in search of win No. 15. The deep starting rotation of Brett Myers, Hamels, Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer and Adam Eaton has morphed into Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, Kyle Lohse, Durbin and Fabio Castro, at least until Hamels and Eaton return. While Hamels isn't automatic, he's been pretty close this season. "Tonight was his turn," Manuel said. "We always think that when he starts, we have a real good chance of winning. He's what we consider our ace." Given a large cushion, Dodgers No. 2 man Derek Lowe (10-11) breezed through seven relatively pain-free innings, allowing three runs on six hits. His lone mistake produced a two-run homer by Coste in the seventh. Durbin's performance continued a trend of skewed performances in home and away starts. In three starts in Los Angeles, San Diego and Pittsburgh, the right-hander has posted a 3-0 record with a 1.29 ERA, vs. 1-2 with an 8.62 ERA at Citizens Bank Park. Obvious answer aside -- Citizens Bank Park isn't the greatest place for pitchers -- Durbin offers another theory. "I think I've always been a better away pitcher," he said. "For some reason, I think I settle into a visiting ballpark easier than trying to impress the home crowd. The home field doesn't treat me too well."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.