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June 21 2007

At least it's over for a while.  The Phillies simply looked out of their league against the top teams in the AL Central.  They managed to go 2-4 against the Tigers and Indians, but it didn't really seem that close.   They allowed 48 runs in the six games, 26 in the three with Cleveland.

The Phils were up 4-2 with one out in the bottom of the sixth last night, a healthy Lieber on the mound and pitching well.  The inning ended with the Phils down 10-4, Lieber hurt and, to the degree it's possible, the bullpen situation looking even more bleak.

The Phils lost to the Cleveland Indians last night, falling 10-6 to drop to 37-35 on the season.  They are 5-5 in their last ten, which is the best mark for teams in the NL East.

Lieber got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on ten hits and two walks.  Just one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double.  He struck out three.  It was his fourth time in five starts he had allowed at least ten hits. 

In the first, Grady Sizemore and Casey Blake singled, putting men on first and second for Victor Martinez.  Martinez hit a fly ball to left that went off of Werth's glove, but Werth threw to third to get Sizemore.  Travis Hafner flew to left and Jhonny Peralta flew to right to end the inning.

Lieber threw a 1-2-3 second. 

With a 2-0 lead in the third, Lieber gave up a leadoff single to Josh Barfield and hit Sizemore with a pitch.  A fly ball to right from Blake moved Barfield to third before Martinez grounded to first, scoring Barfield to cut the lead to 2-1.  Hafner grounded to second for the third out. 

Peralta walked to start the fourth and Michaels followed with a single that moved him to second.  Nixon hit a hard ground ball to first that Howard could not handle.  Should have been a double-play or an error.  Nixon was given a single and the bases were loaded.  Ryan Garko was next and he ripped a ball down the third-base line, but Helms made a nice play and threw home to force Peralta.  With the bases still loaded, Barfield hit a fly ball to left deep enough to score Michaels and tie the game at 2-2.  Lieber struck out Sizemore to end the inning.

Hafner singled with two outs in the fifth, but Peralta grounded to third to end the inning.

Lieber started the sixth with a 4-2 lead.  Nixon singled with one out and Garko dribbled one out in front of the plate.  Lieber fielded and threw to first, but Howard couldn't handle the throw on a big hop.  Garko was given a single, but it should have been error number two on Howard on the night.  With one out and men on first and second, Barfield doubled, scoring Nixon and moving Garko to third.  4-3.  Lieber walked Sizemore intentionally to load the bases and Blake followed with a two-run single into left.  5-4.  Lieber was hurt on the play as he moved from the mound to backup the plate.  He left the game limping and was replaced by Zagurski.  His injury was apparently to his right ankle and  he may not miss a start.  The Phils have two off days in the next five, so they have some flexibility with their rotation.  With one out and men on first and second, Martinez singled to left, scoring Sizemore and moving Blake to second.  6-4.  Hafner walked to load the bases again. Hernandez came in to pitch to the righty Peralta and Peralta doubled, scoring two more and sending Hafner to third.  8-4.  Hernandez struck out Michaels for the second out, but Nixon followed with another double, scoring two more.  10-4.  Garko struck out to end the inning.

Geary got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Geary returned for the eighth and Martinez led off and reached on an error when Utley had trouble with a routine ground ball to second and couldn't get it out of his glove.  Odd play followed in which Geary started to make a pickoff throw to first, realized Howard wasn't covering and threw the ball at (and hit) Martinez.  Martinez was originally given second base, but was called back to first.  Geary set down the next three. 

Geary threw 28 pitches.  Hate to see him throw so many pitches down four runs, but the pen has really been overworked.  Madson and Sanches both had outings of more than 30 pitches in Cleveland.  Mesa has been used more sparingly, but I think Manuel may be wanting to start to use him later in the games and in bigger situations.  That probably won't work, but I don't have many better ideas.  Geary pitched really well last night and kept his opponent off the board for the first time in five outings.  He didn't allow a hit or a walk and pitched around Utley's error to start the eighth. 

Zagurski has to be about done for this time around.  His ERA is 6.23.  In his three outings since June 11 he's gotten two outs and been charged with three runs on three hits and a walk.  Not a lot of lefty options for the Phillies, though.  Matt Smith is on the DL.  Fabio Castro is pitching pretty well and was just moved from Reading to Ottawa. 

The Indians designated Roberto Hernandez for assignment.  Somebody will want him.  Me, if nobody else.

Over the last eight games the Phils' pen has allowed runs in every game.  They have surrendered 21 runs in 21 1/3 innings.

Don't know where you find the official stats, but the Phils absolutely must be leading the civilized world in having the pitcher throw to first when nobody is holding the runner at first.  Twice in the last six games.  Maybe somewhere deep in the jungles of Botswana there's a pitcher who has thrown to first three times in the last six games to find his first baseman playing off the bag, but I don't know about it.  If there is, he or she should come forth and receive the recognition that they deserve.

The Phillies' lineup against lefty CC Sabathia went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Burrell (7) Werth (8) Helms (9) Barajas.  Burrell at DH, Helms at third, Werth in left. 

After going 1-2-3 in the first and the second, Helms singled with one out in the third.  Barajas followed and crushed a ball way out to left, putting the Phils up 2-0.  Rollins and Victorino went down behind him.

Rowand walked with two outs in the fourth, but Burrell popped to second for the third out.

After a 1-2-3 fifth, Rollins started the sixth with a double to left and moved to third on a ground out to second by Victorino.  Utley swung at a 3-0 pitch and popped to short for the second out.  Howard picked him up, though, smoking a double into right to score Rollins and put the Phils up 3-2.  Rowand followed with a single that scored Howard, putting the Phls up 4-2.  Rowand went to second when Nixon misplayed the ball for an error.  Burrell flew to right for the third out. 

Barajas singled off the glove of Barfield with two outs in the seventh.  Rollins walked and Victorino followed with a two-run double into left that cut the Cleveland lead to 10-6.  Utley walked but Howard struck out to end the inning.

Rowand walked to start the eighth, but Burrell, Werth and Dobbs, who pinch hit for Helms with the righty Rafael Betancourt pitching, went down behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the ninth.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk.  3-for-11 in the series.  278/326/514 on the season.

Victorino 1-for-5 with a double and two RBI.  3-for-13 in the series.  275/345/406.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk.  2-for-9 with two walks and two RBI in the series.  373/449/627 in June.  317/398/561 on the year.

Howard was 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI and three strikeouts.  He was miserable defensively last night.  6-for-13 with two doubles, two home runs, six RBI, no walks and four strikeouts.  No walks is curious and may be related to Rowand's weak series in the five-hole.  247/381/553 on the season.

Rowand was 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI.  1-for-11 in the series.  316/394/490.

Burrell was 0-for-4 and left three men on base.  1-for-8 with a double in the series.  208/375/381.

Werth 0-for-4.  3-for-11 with two walks in the series.  244/337/366.

Helms 1-for-3.  2-for-9 with a walk in the series.  247/306/319.  Burrell is leading the trio that includes himself, Werth and Helms with a .381 slugging percentage. 

Barajas was 2-for-4 with his fourth home run of the year and two RBI in his only action of the series.  217/357/413.  Ruiz was 1-for-8 with a single.  265/318/392.

Dobbs 0-for-1 last night and 1-for-3 with a double in the series.  Not much action for him as the Indians started three lefties.  286/331/556 on the year.  Nunez also was mostly a spectator with Helms getting a lot of at-bats.  1-for-5 with a single.  268/320/331.

No game today.  Cardinals tomorrow night in St Louis.

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