July 15 2006

If this were elementary school kickball the Phillies would no doubt be asking for a do-over on the first 87 games of the season.  Alas, there's no choice but for them to go forward and try to dig themselves out of the enormous hole they've dug themselves. 

The big dig didn't start last night.  With help from an unfortunate Chase Utley error in a big spot and more sleeping sticks from the Phils, the Giants beat the Phils 5-3.  The loss drops the Phillies to 40-48 on the year.  They fall 13 games behind the Mets and into a tie with the Braves for second place in the NL East.

Jon Lieber got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing 5 runs on six hits and five walks.  Only four of the runs were earned.  Just one of the hits went for extra-bases, a two-run homer by Durham.  Five is the most walks for Lieber in any start this season.  He's had just one other start where he allowed more than two.

Lieber got into a jam in the second.  With runners on first and third and one out he got Feliz to ground into a double-play, ending the inning with the Phillies still up 1-0.

Up 3-0 in the fourth, Lieber gave up a one-out walk to Bonds, which Ray Durham followed with a two-run homer.  The shot cut the Phillies lead to 3-2 and gave Durham more homers on the year than Bonds.

Lieber started the sixth with the Phillies still leading 3-2.  The Giants loaded the bases with one out before a single by Eliezer Alfonzo tied the game at 3-3 with the bases still loaded and one out.  The play of the game followed as Utley booted Randy Winn's double-play ball.  Instead of the double-play, the Giants scored two runs on the play and went ahead 5-3.  With Steve Finley up, Fultz relieved Lieber and got out of the first and third one-out jam without further damage.

Cormier pitched a scoreless seventh and Franklin a scoreless eighth.  The Phillies are saving some wear and tear on the pen by losing all these road games.  Clever.

The Phillies lineup against righty Matt Morris went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Abreu (4) Burrell (5) Howard (6) Rowand (7) Bell (8) Coste.  No big surprises here, but I was glad to see Coste in the starting lineup.  The Phillies lineup for the first game in the second half of the year had six of the eight players in the opening day lineup.  Nunez played for the injured Bell on opening day and  Lieberthal started behind the plate.  Lieberthal was activated from the DL yesterday and I  expect he'll start today -- you would think Lieber and Lieberthal would get along, what with having the unlikely almost same name and all, but apparently not.

The Phillies' opening day lineup against the Cardinals looked like this: (1) Rollins (2) Nunez (3) Abreu (4) Utley (5) Burrell (6) Howard (7) Rowand (8) Lieberthal.  We haven't seem much of Chase in the cleanup spot since he settled into the two hole early in the season.  The Phillies got absolutely hammered on opening day, falling to the Cardinals 13-5 in a powerful demonstration of how an eight-run fourth can help you win a game.

The Phillies went up 1-0 in the first.  Rollins led off the game with a hard ground ball to second, which was booted by Durham.  Good hustle from Jimmy had him at second with nobody out.  He moved to third on an Utley ground out to the right side of the infield and scored on a sac fly by Abreu. 

Pat Burrell led off the fourth with his second hit of the day, an unimpressive-but-we'll-take-it bloop into center.  Ryan Howard followed hit with a two-run homer that put the Phillies up 3-0. 

That was it for the Phillies, who notably were dominated by Jonathan Sanchez when Morris left after six.  Sanchez went 1 1/3, striking out three.

Rollins was 0-for-4 but helped the Phillies get a first inning run with his hustle on the Durham error.

Utley 1-for-3 with a walk.  Abreu 0-for-3 with a sac fly and struck out twice.

Burrell had two hits.  He was 2-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts.  Since June 15 Burrell and Abreu have combined to hit one home run.

Howard 2-for-4 with a homer.  Rowand and Bell combined to go 0-for-8.  Coste went 1-for-3.

Cory Lidle faces Noah Lowry this afternoon.  It would be a nice one to win with Schmidt starting tomorrow. 

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