Funny strange, not funny ha-ha.

Not an expert on such things, but I’m just about positive they were suggesting that Brett Myers long toss in-between starts rather than during them. Myers’ offerings last night didn’t quite travel 120 feet, but it may have looked like they had to Atlanta hitters by the time the ball reached the plate. Three of the first seven Braves he faced homered off of him and Myers didn’t make it through the fifth inning. Over his last two starts he has allowed 15 runs in 9 1/3 innings.

Down 8-0 in the sixth, the Phils still managed to make a game out of it. The bottom of their pen gave them 4 2/3 scoreless innings and the Phils brought two guys up in the ninth as the winning run.

The Phils lost to the Atlanta Braves last night, falling 8-6 to drop to 22-19 on the season. They have lost three of their last four games and remain in second place in the NL East, a game and a half behind the Marlins.

Myers got the start for the Phils and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs on nine hits and three walks. Six of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and three home runs. He struck out six. With more than a quarter of the season played, Myers’ ERA is 5.91. He has made one quality start in his last five outings.

Madson gave up a two-run single in the fifth with the runs charged to Myers, but it wasn’t exactly what tipped the scales to the bad start side.

Yunel Escobar hit Myers’ second pitch of the game out to left. 1-0. Mark Kotsay popped to short for the first out before Chipper Jones homered to left. 2-0. Mark Teixeira drew a walk, but Brian McCann hit into a double-play behind him.

In the second, Kelly Johnson homered with one out to make it 3-0. Myers struck out Gregor Blanco for the second out and pitcher Tom Glavine to end the inning. Jeff Francoeur struck out to start the inning, so Myers struck out the side.

Escobar started the third with walk. Kotsay followed with a ground ball to short. Rollins went to second for the first out, but Howard didn’t handle Utley’s throw and was charged with an error. Chipper hit a ball down the line in left that wedged between the warning track and the mat. Burrell could have picked it up easily but raised both hands and Chipper had to settle for a ground-rule double. Smart play by Burrell, Kotsay would have scored easily, but had to hold third. Turned out not to matter. Myers struck out Teixeira for the second out before McCann doubled over the head of Victorino in right. Both runners scored and the Braves led 5-0. Francoeur struck out for the third out.

Johnson doubled to start the fourth. Blano struck out behind him for the first out. Glavine followed and reached on a swinging bunt, moving Johnson to third. Escobar hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Kotsay started the fifth with a single and Chipper followed with a walk. Teixeira grounded to second and Chipper was forced at second for the second out. With men on first and third and one down, McCann singled into right. Kotsay scored to make it 6-0 and Teixeira went to second. Madson came into pitch and got Francoeur on a ball out in front of the plate for the second out as the runners moved up to second and third. Madson walked Johnson with two outs to load the bases and pitch to Blanco and Blanco singled into center. Teixeira and McCann scored and it was 8-0. Glavine grounded to short for the third out.

Walking Johnson intentionally was a bad idea if it worked. It didn’t.

Madson came back to pitch the sixth. Kotsay singled with one out, but Madson got the next two.

Condrey started the seventh with the Phils down 8-4. Francoeur singled with one out. Johnson was next and he blooped one behind short and into left-center. Werth came in and made a nice diving catch for the second out. Blanco flew to center for the third out.

Seanez threw a 1-2-3 eighth. He returned for the ninth and walked McCann on a 3-2 pitch with two outs. Francoeur lined to Utley to end the frame.

The pen did their job. They went 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks. Madson threw 34 pitches, Seanez 29 and Condrey 14. Probably means Madson and Seanez couldn’t pitch tonight.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Tom Glavine went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Again Werth plays center and Victorino right. I have not heard or read an explanation from Manuel that makes much sense to me on this subject. It seems like he keeps saying I-said-I-was-going-to-play-Werth-in-center-so-now-I’m-playing-Werth-in-center. Playing Werth in center is a fine idea when Victorino is not in the game. Victorino doesn’t belong in right field. Coste catches.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the first and again in the second.

Down 5-0 in the third, Coste singled with one out. Myers bunted him to second, but Rollins flew to right for the third out.

1-2-3 in the fourth and again in the fifth.

Down 8-0, Coste led off the sixth with a single. Bruntlett hit for Madson and drew a walk that moved Coste to second. Rollins split the gap in right-center on the first pitch he saw for a double. Coste scored and Bruntlett went to third. 8-1. Victorino grounded to short for the second out and Bruntlett scored and Rollins moved to third. 8-2. Utley hammered a 1-2 pitch out to right-center and it was 8-4. Howard grounded to first for the second out before Burrell drew a walk. That finally chased Glavine and righty Jeff Bennett came in to pitch to Werth. Werth walked and it put men on first and second for Feliz, but Feliz flew to left to end the inning.

Coste started the seventh with a single. With the righty Bennett still on the mound, Jenkins hit for Condrey. Lefty Will Ohman came in to pitch and Taguchi hit for Jenkins and hit into a double-play. Rollins grounded to third for the third out.

Jenkins has a career .715 OPS against left-handed pitching. Taguchi .713.

Howard homered to left with two outs in the eighth off of lefty Royce Ring. 8-5. Righty Blaine Boyer came in and got Burrell to ground to short to end the inning.

Coste singled with two outs in the ninth. Dobbs hit for Seanez and singled into left. It brought Rollins up as the tying run. Rollins got ahead 2-0 before he laced a 2-2 pitch into right for a single. Coste scored from second to make it 8-6 and Dobbs went to third. Rollins stole second base without a throw, putting the tying run on second base for Victorino. Victorino hit a 1-1 pitch hard into right, but Francoeur took it just in front of the warning track to end the game.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI.

Victorino 0-for-5 with an RBI. He’s 3-for-his-last-23. He has five extra-base hits and a .286 slugging percentage for the season.

Utley was 1-for-4 with his 14th home run and two RBI. He’s on pace to hit .323 with 55 home runs.

Howard was 1-for-4 with his eighth home run. 7-for-his-last-25 with a double, a triple and two home runs.

Burrell was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Werth 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Feliz was 0-for-4. He’s 2-for-his-last-14.

Coste went 4-for-4 with two singles and scored two runs.

Cole Hamels (4-3, 3.36) faces lefty Chuck James (2-2, 7.58) tonight. James has made four starts on the year for the Braves and has allowed four or more runs in three of them. In 19 innings he has struck out 17, but also allowed four home runs. Only two NL pitchers gave up more than the 32 home runs that James allowed in 2007. James gave up his 32 in just 161 1/3 innings. Righties are hitting .304 against him this season, lefties just .133. He made four starts against the Phillies in 2007 and went 1-0 with a 5.49 ERA and a 1.32 ratio. His starts against the Phils came on April 5, May 2, August 10 and September 25. Hamels has thrown a ton of innings for the Phils, 56 1/3, in his eight starts. That’s an average of over seven an outing and there’s no way that’s going to work over a whole season. Going into tonight’s start, Hamels is on pace to throw about 228 innings for the year. Opponents are hitting .217 against him overall and he’s thrown to a 1.10 ratio. He’s walked one left-handed batter this season. Home runs are probably the way to go if you want to score against him, but his home run rate this year is down. After allowing 25 in 183 1/3 innings last seson (1.23 per nine innings), Hamels has allowed five in 56 1/3 so far this year (.80 per nine). In four starts against the Braves last season he went 3-0 with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.13 ratio. April 4, May 1 and the August 10 game against James.