PHILADELPHIA -- The Dodgers’ seven-game, East Coast road trip to start the second half was so unusual that it seemed only fitting for it to extend even a bit beyond the final out of Thursday’s 7-6 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
It began with an Interleague matchup against the reigning champs in Boston, a series that concluded with a 12-inning marathon on Sunday night that led to the Dodgers getting to their hotel in Philadelphia at 4:30 a.m. ET ahead of Monday night's series opener. They sat through three rain delays, including a two-hour, 37-minute stoppage on Wednesday, and they played through rain, thunder and lightning around the ballpark on Thursday. They faced three All-Star pitchers in Chris Sale, David Price and Aaron Nola -- and a pair of teams they could potentially see again in October.
"Brutal. It was a brutal road trip," Enrique Hernández said, despite the club finishing 4-3 on the swing. "But hey, it’s going to happen at some point in the season, and I’d rather have it happen now than in September."
Through all the twists and turns along the East Coast, one thing remained constant -- the Dodgers hit a lot of home runs. They added four more in Thursday's series finale, including two from Hernandez, to finish with 15 for the four-game set in Philadelphia. That tied the club record for a single series, matching the 15 they hit in a four-game set against the Mets in June 2017.
But just when they were finally ready to go home, the Dodgers ran into one last delay.
"Clearly [more than] our plane," Hernandez said, referencing the club charter, which was delayed by mechanical issues. "It broke down and it's not here."
Hernandez had a career-high four hits, and he teamed up with Matt Beaty to go back to back in the second inning. That was the ninth time this season the Dodgers have hit back-to-back jacks, including the second in this series. Hernandez and Beaty combined to go 7-for-8 with five runs and five RBIs. Alex Verdugo added a solo shot in the ninth to cut the lead to one, but it wasn’t enough.
The Dodgers raised their National League-leading home run total to 167. That ranks second in the Majors overall, trailing only the Twins. Los Angeles is on pace for 271 home runs, which would shatter the franchise record of 235 in 2018. That mark came just one year after hitting a then-record 221 in '17.
"We showed we can beat you with starting pitching, on the bases, base hits -- but we can slug. That’s been talked about a lot with our club throughout the industry," Roberts said. "One through eight, we’re pretty dangerous."
That was more than evident in the Dodgers' rain-soaked series split in Philadelphia, with nine different players leaving the yard. Cody Bellinger had a multi-homer effort on Monday after he “drank two Red Bulls" to compensate for the late arrival. David Freese delivered the go-ahead shot in Wednesday's win, fueled by a midgame nap during the lengthy delay. The latest performance came from Hernandez, who turned in his fifth career multi-homer game as part of a career-best four-hit night.
Yet as they waited out one final delay in the visitor's clubhouse, there seemed to be only one "home" on their minds.
"We’ve been away from home for quite some time," said Roberts, who also managed the NL in last week's MLB All-Star Game festivities, which featured six Dodgers players. "It’s always nice to get back home, but you play the hand you’re dealt. That’s baseball. I don’t expect a rain delay when we get to LA."