The Phils still can’t score, but it’s a lot more alarming that now they aren’t winning. Last night Cliff Lee battled the home plate umpire for most of the game and walked a career high six, but it was hard to ignore what the offense wasn’t doing. It wasn’t scoring runs and it hasn’t been for a while now. With a 3-1 loss last night the Phils have lost three games in a row for the first time this season.
The Phillies have now scored one run or no runs in four of the last five starts made by Lee.
After an 18-8 April, the Phillies are 7-7 in May. In April they allowed about 3.38 runs per game. The good news is that that’s gotten better — so far in May they’ve allowed 3.14 runs a game. The bad news, of course, is that they can’t score enough. After averaging 4.62 runs a game in April they have scored just 3.36 runs a game so far in May.
The Phillies are 25-15 on the year after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 3-1 last night. They have lost three in a row.
Lee got the start for the Phillies and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and six walks. All six of the hits were singles and he struck out four. After nine starts he has a 3.84 ERA. He’s thrown to a 3.78 ERA over his last five outings, but the Phillies have gone 1-4.
He walked 18 batters in 212 1/3 innings in 2010. So far in 2011 he has walked 13 in 58 2/3 innings.
Ryan Theriot led off the bottom of the first with a single to center. Jon Jay bunted him to second with the first out before Albert Pujols flew to left for the second. Lee walked Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman back-to-back, loading the bases for Allen Craig. Craig flew to right to leave all three runners stranded.
Lee threw a 1-2-3 second with a 1-0 lead, striking Yadier Molina out swinging 1-2 for the first out, getting Nick Punto on a ball that Lee handled and threw to first for the second and striking the pitcher Jake Westbrook out swinging 0-2.
Lee walked Theriot to start the third, but got Jay to ground into a double-play behind him. Pujols grounded to short to end the inning.
Holliday and Berkman walked back-to-back again to start the fourth. Again Lee got Craig, striking him out for the first out, but Molina was next and reached on an infield single that loaded the bases. Punto was next and lined a single to right, moving everyone up a base and tying the game at 1-1. Lee struck the pitcher Westbrook out for the second out before Theriot singled to right. Berkman scored easily to make it 2-1, but Lee took the throw from right and threw Molina out at home to end the inning.
Lee set the Cards down in order in the fifth and the sixth.
Punto led off the seventh with a single and pitcher Kyle Lohse hit for the pitcher Westbrook and Lohse bunted Punto to second with the first out. Theriot walked, putting men on first and second for the Cardinals, and Jay followed that with a single to center. Punto scored to extend the lead to 3-1 with Theriot taking second. Stutes took over for Lee and got Pujols to hit into a double-play to end the inning.
That could have been worse. Again Lee gives up a walk in the inning, but the Cards don’t need it to help them score this time.
Romero started the eighth and got the leadoff hitter Holliday before hitting Berkman with a pitch. Craig flew to center for the second out before Molina dribbled a single between short and third and under the glove of Rollins. Punto flew to Mayberry to leave the runners at first and second.
Romero threw 20 pitches in the game. Stutes threw five.
The Phillies lineup against righty Jake Westbrook went (1) Rollins (2) Valdez (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Mayberry (6) Francisco (7) Orr (8) Ruiz. Polanco gets the day off with a tight back. Valdez starts at third with Ibanez moved up to the three-spot in the order. Victorino on the bench with a hamstring. Mayberry in center with Francisco in right, which is a whole lot better than anything that involves Martinez starting in the outfield. The lefty Orr at second. There’s some ugly to spread around there with Polanco and Victorino out and no good option at second anyway, but Valdez shouldn’t ever be hitting second.
The Phils went in order in the first. Valdez tried to bunt, which is a good idea for several reasons including Pujols at third and being Valdez, but Westbrook handled it and threw it to first to get him for the second out.
Howard led off the top of the second with a walk. Mayberry was next and hit a ground ball to third with Pujols fielding and throwing to second for the first out. Mayberry stole second before Francisco singled to left, scoring Mayberry without a play at the plate to put the Phils up 1-0. Orr was next and hit a ball that Westbrook fielded. Westbrook threw to second to force Francisco for the second out with Orr safe at first. Just for a second, though, cause Westbrook picked Orr of first to set the Phillies down.
Rollins ripped a ball to right center with two outs in the first that fell and hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double. Valdez grounded to second on a nice play by Punto in shallow right to leave Rollins stranded.
Howard walked with one out in the fourth. Mayberry flew to left and Francisco flew to center to leave him stranded.
The Phils were down 2-1 when they hit in the fifth. Orr and Ruiz went down to start the inning before Lee singled into center. Rollins moved him to second with a single, but Valdez grounded to third to turn the Phils away.
Howard walked with one out in the sixth, but Mayberry hit into a double-play behind him.
The Phils went in order in the seventh, with Pujols making a nice play on a ball hit hard by Francisco for the first out.
With righty Eduardo Sanchez on the mound for the Cardinals and the Phils down 3-1, Gload hit for Stutes to start the eighth and singled to center. Rollins hit into a double-play behind him. Polanco hit for Valdez and struck out looking for the third out.
Ibanez, Howard and Mayberry went in order in the ninth.
Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double in the game, which was the only extra-base hit for the Phils. His batting average for balls in play is .301 for the season.
Valdez was 0-for-3 with three men left on base. He’s hitting 214/225/271 against right-handed pitching for the year. The Phillies have now given him 460 plate appearances since the start of 2010 in which he has hit 252/297/344. He’s really not the guy you want hitting second.
Ibanez was 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his first action of the year hitting third. He’s 0-for-his-last-10.
Howard 0-for-1 with three walks. 0-for-his-last-9 with three walks.
Francisco 1-for-3 with an RBI. 108/327/108 over his last 50 plate appearances. He slugged .455 through April 27 and has slugged .146 in 55 plate appearances since.
Orr was 0-for-3. He’s slugging .298 for the year. Phillies second baseman have combined to hit 228/281/279 for the season, for a .560 OPS that’s the worst in the NL. The Fish were behind them last night before Omar Infante went 3-for-4.
Ruiz was 0-for-3. He’s 1-for-his-last-30 and hitting 033/211/033 over his last 38 plate appearances.
Roy Oswalt (3-1, 3.33) faces lefty Jaime Garcia (5-0, 1.89) tonight. Garcia finished third for NL Rookie of the Year last season and has allowed one run in 16 innings over his last two starts. He faced the Phillies twice in 2010 (May 3 and July 21, going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.00 ratio. Oswalt has made five starts on the year, going six innings in each of the first four and allowing two runs or less each time before allowing five runs in three innings against the Diamondbacks before hitting the DL after his April 26 start.
This says that Utley will not return this week, but that it’s likely he’ll be back in the majors before May 30.