Mattingly likes energy despite Dodgers' loss

Mattingly likes energy despite Dodgers' loss

Mattingly likes energy despite Dodgers' loss
LOS ANGELES -- If the Dodgers are trading for Jimmy Rollins or Shane Victorino, they better hurry before the pair of Phillies beat them again.

With speculation that the Dodgers could acquire either, Rollins homered along with Ryan Howard and former Dodgers farmhand Victorino had three hits in a 3-2 series-opening win Monday night, the Dodgers' 18th loss in the last 24 games.

This one came on the heels of Kenley Jansen's shocking mental gaffe on Saturday and Sunday's five-error catastrophe. But even with the latest losing streak reaching three games, manager Don Mattingly believes this was a better loss, if there is such a thing.

"We played more our style of game tonight, and those are the ones we have to win," Mattingly said. "We talked about it today. We need to stay with what we do, stay with who we are. What I didn't like yesterday was that we didn't have the feel that we expected to win. I expect to win every day, no matter who we play, not matter our matchups.

"Tonight -- I'm not happy with losing -- but I could tell we felt we were going to win. As long as we play with that energy, we're going to be fine. That's part of toughness."

And Mattingly reminded the media, as he earlier reminded his players, that toughness is something he demands.

"That's what I said when I took the job, and part of toughness is losing 18 of 24 and not backing off or expecting not to win," he said. "It's a fight now. We're going through tough times. I want a club that's tough, that comes every day expecting to win, and that's not changing with me. I'm not backing off that."

Dodgers starter Nathan Eovaldi, pitching for the first time in nine days, was again the victim. Moved up one day to fill in for Chad Billingsley, Eovaldi made it through five innings but couldn't keep up with Phillies starter Joe Blanton, who utilized plate umpire Bill Miller's low strike zone for eight innings.

Eovaldi is 1-6, the Dodgers having scored seven runs total in those losses, with a 4.33 ERA and five homers allowed in 52 innings. As a point of reference, Clayton Kershaw had a 4.26 ERA his rookie season with 11 homers in 107 2/3 innings.

"I don't think [opposing hitters] are figuring him out," Mattingly said. "You make mistakes, you get hit. He tried to come inside to Rollins and it leaked over the plate. The nice thing is, he's not walking guys in front of them. He's going to keep growing into a better pitcher."

It was former Dodger Juan Pierre driving in the Phillies' first run with a two-out single in the second inning that brought home Carlos Ruiz, who had doubled.

Rollins' home run in the third inning doubled the lead, and the Dodgers messed up a rundown play two batters later, allowing Victorino to get to second base, only for catcher A.J. Ellis to pick him off and end the inning.

But Howard led off the next inning with an opposite-field homer, his first since returning from last year's Achilles tendon surgery and 11th in 25 Dodger Stadium games.

"Rollins, I was trying to go inside on him on a 3-2, but I left it over the middle part of the plate and he hit it," Eovaldi said. "Howard, I felt like I located it pretty well. It was a changeup down and away and he's just a good hitter.

"I just have to do a better job of working ahead in counts and then when I am ahead, I have to try and put them away quickly."

In the sixth, Jerry Hairston led off with a double and Mark Ellis was called out by first-base umpire Wally Bell on a grounder to second base, even though Howard missed the throw from second baseman Chase Utley. After an umpire huddle, the call was reversed and the Dodgers had runners on the corners. Matt Kemp bounced into a double play as Hairston scored from third.

"We still had a couple-run lead, so I was just focused on trying to get the double-play ball out of the gate, try to clear the bases and go from there," Blanton said. "You get a couple guys on with nobody out and you've got a lead, you've got to try to limit the damage and keep the lead. I did that. As a pitcher you can always be happy with that when you have the lead in that situation."

The Dodgers put two on with no out in the seventh as Juan Rivera and James Loney singled. After fouling a bunt attempt, Luis Cruz faked a bunt and hit a comebacker to Blanton, who threw for the out at second, but Rollins did a toe tap looking for the bag and never got a throw off to first base. A.J. Ellis struck out to bring up former Phillie Bobby Abreu, and the first pitch to him was wild as Rivera scored. Abreu flied out to end the inning.

The Dodgers' bullpen kept the game close, with two perfect innings from Shawn Tolleson, one scoreless by Scott Elbert and Ronald Belisario striking out the side in the ninth.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.