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Free-Falling Phils Swept by Braves

Posted by Alex Lee, Sun, August 04, 2013 11:29 PM | Comments: 21
2013 Game Recaps, Posts

Returning from injury, Cliff Lee had his fourth consecutive shaky start on Sunday.  (PHOTO: AP)

Returning from injury, Cliff Lee had his fourth consecutive shaky start on Sunday. (PHOTO: AP)

Behind rookie lefthander Alex Wood, the Braves completed a sweep of the Phillies on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, winning 4-1 and dropping the Phils to a season low 11 games under .500.  They now trail Atlanta by 16.5 games in the NL East.

Cliff Lee was not himself in his first start in two weeks, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered considering the lackluster state of the Phillies offense right now.  They managed only four hits, three walks and a run against the Braves, who have the second best team ERA in baseball.  John Kruk summed it up best in the ninth inning when he commented that despite only being a three-run game, it had the feel of a blowout.

The Phillies have lost 13 of their last 14 games, and have been swept in three of the five series after the All-Star break.  They are the owners of a minus-88 run differential, which is the worst in the National League and only better than the anemic Houston Astros in all of baseball.  The sweep dropped the Phils to 3-6 on the year against the first place Braves.  Atlanta has now won 10 in a row.

CLIFF LEE SHAKY IN RETURN

- In his first start since July 21, Lee lasted only five innings, surrendering four runs (three earned), eight hits and two walks.  He looked off from the start, uncharacteristically walking the first batter of the game and later that inning crossing up Carlos Ruiz on a curveball that ultimately cost him a run.

- The lefty was visibly frustrated in the fourth inning when his outing was delayed about five minutes while the umpires tried to determine via replay if a B.J. Upton home run should stand.  Upton was sent back to second with a double, but Lee gave up drives to Jason Heyward and Justin Upton that put the game out of reach at 4-1.

- Lee had been sidelined for two weeks with a stiff neck and had also been struggling in July.  In three starts in the month, Lee had an ERA of 6.05 after a stellar first half of the season.  Lee hasn’t notched a quality start since June 29, and didn’t do much on Sunday to alleviate concerns about his recent performance.

OFFENSE REMAINS PUNCHLESS

- The Phillies offense, even in its heyday, always struggled with young lefties like Wood and Sunday night was no different.  The Phils could only muster two hits and one run in Wood’s six innings, and somehow fared worse (two hits, no runs in three innings) against the Braves bullpen.  The Phillies offense has scored 417 runs in 111 games, good for 26th in baseball.

- Carlos Ruiz roped a Alex Wood fastball off the top of the left field fence for a double to leadoff the bottom half of the third inning for the Phils.  It was originally ruled a home run, but Ruiz was sent back to second after the umpires utilized instant replay.  Chooch scored anyway two batters later on a Michael Young RBI groundout for the Phils only run.

- Darin Ruf had two of the Phils four hits in the game.  Ruf has quietly put together a very nice stretch since he began to play consistently, batting .299/.413/.907 in 77 at bats.  Tonight was his eighth game of the season in the outfield and with Domonic Brown scheduled to return on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see what Charlie Manuel decides to do with Ruf.

DID YOU NOTICE?

- Chris Johnson made a heck of a play at third base to end the first inning, diving to his left on a ball in the hole and getting a throw off just in time to nab Ruf at first base.  Johnson, who leads the NL in hitting, also had a pair of hits and two RBIs for Atlanta.

- John Mayberry Jr. was picked off at second base to end a Phillies threat in the fifth inning.  While he was able to dive back before the throw got there, Andrelton Simmons obstructed his path to the bag and Mayberry was clearly out.  It was a heady play by the impressive young shortstop.

- Delmon Young struck out four times on Sunday and was viciously booed after he went down swinging against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.  Young’s line this season is now .263/.305/.708.  All logic points to Young’s days in right field being numbered once Brown returns this week, then again plenty of decisions made by the Phillies this season have defied logic.

Avatar of Alex Lee

About Alex Lee

Alex Lee has written 43 articles on Phillies Nation.

Alex is a freelance journalist from Philadelphia whose work has appeared in the Daily News, the Inquirer, USA Today as well as several other publications and blogs. Now based in Baltimore, he is MLB.TV's most satisfied customer.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    em·bar·rass·ing

    /emˈbarəsiNG/

    Adjective

    1.Causing embarrassment: “an embarrassing muddle”.
    2.Creating difficulties, esp. for a political party or public figure.

    Synonyms
    awkward

    shame·ful

    /ˈSHāmfəl/

    Adjective

    Worthy of or causing shame or disgrace.

    Synonyms

    disgraceful – ignominious – scandalous – infamous

     
  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    Watching Amaro sipping on his drink in his box made me want to puke. Hopefully he puked after sitting through that lifeless game played by that lifeless team that he’s assembled. One hundred losses is a distinct possibility while Howard, Halladay and Adams just look out from the dugout.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Are we epic enough yet?

    Good night from a hair above 4th place. Same hair as a night ago, maybe grayer, but no longer.

    A reminder from the sometimes trusted memory of Bland, Ken, the ’61 Phizzies lost 5 straight, won uno, then dropped the infamous 23 straight. Just the facts, maam. Implications are individually interpreted.

    My thanks to Uncle Selig’s cronies for the forthcoming first look of the year at the Chicubs this week. Now THERE, is an implication.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chez32

    When are the Phillies going to get rid of Manuel. Manuel says he loves hitting, but his team isn’t hitting. I think it’s time for a shake up…starting with Manuel.

     
    • Posts: 0 Alex M.

      What would we gain by firing Manuel? If we ax him and let Sandberg manage are we instantly going to start winning? Face the facts this team is in trouble and changing managers is pointless. Is it Charlie’s fault that Adams, Halladay, Horst, Pettibone, Savery, Stutes, Howard, Brown and Revere are all on the DL? Yes this team is not performing and we are not going to contend for a playoff spot. But why would you want to fire arguably the best manager in Phillies history? Let him work with the players, get some young blood in the lineup and Charlie work with them. What do we have to lose by keeping Charlie on to finish up his final season? Nothing, the season is already lost and everyone knows that there will be a new manager next year. Give Charlie the credit he deserves, he has only won 727 games with this team.

       
    • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

      It is time for a shake up, but it’s way too late for one right now… this season is lost, and as much as I want Charlie gone, it doesn’t make sense to get rid of him now.. let him finish this season and say goodbye after the season, get someone new for next season and beyond… it’s far too late to try and shake things up with this team this season..

       
  • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

    Alex,
    The starkness of the stats you posted in your article say it all; however, here is one more: the Phillies average 2.45 walks a game, which is the lowest total since 1921. This affirms RAJ’s brilliant statement that he doesn’t care about walks, but production. Last time I checked, walks are part of the production equation, Rube, (double meaning on his name implied), and the Phillies possess neither. For the amount of salary this team has, injuries aside, that is unacceptable. Man, this has been a frustrating season.

     
  • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

    Just want to pose this question and then I’ll shut my trap. At the end of this season could we deciding which team was worse, the 2000 team with Francona at the helm, Uncle Cholly’s current team? That team had a -122 run differential, this team is only 34 away from tying it. Wow. Just wow.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillies fan from Germany

    It is truly amazing how Amaro has managed this franchise into the ground. Just looking at the facts he took over a World series winner and a minor league system in a good state wile having a top 3-5 payrole.

    I know it is not simple to keep teams winning for long periods because there always is a tendency to extend derserving players who then age and consequently perform less and get injured more often. But Ruben’s consistency in making the franchise worse is stunning. Now we have an old team, a bad minor league system and on top of it the majority of signings by Ruben are just bad.

    The Youngs? An average closer for 50 million? Howards contract? Trading for Pence when the playoffs were already secured? Letting Schierholz go for nothing? Signing relievers for a lot of money when everyone not insane knows that this is not a good idea when thinking value for money? And on and on it goes. To make up for those horrible decisions there are only a few OK moves I can think of. Getting Revere and extending Rollins were OK decisions. After that I really have a hard time thinking of good moves. Getting our good players signed like Hamels or Lee for that kind of money is something I could have done. Really smart moves are something that makes a GM look good and there is a serious lack of that for Ruben.

    I have no idea why Ruben is not fired. If I were the owner and provide my GM with one of the highest payroles in the game and he would ruin the franchise the way Ruben has done I would not wait a split second to fire him. I REALLY DONT GET IT. IGNORANCE…

     
    • Posts: 1189 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      Agreed 100% buddy. It’s depressing, really.

       
    • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

      Ive been on here for years. Documenting the destruction.

      As people called me names and said I was stupid.

      And I wish I was stupid and wrong.

      Watching the team is not fun.

      A WS roster and a top 5 farm system into this.

      ITs amazing.

      Almost as amazing as the fact that he is still drawing a check form the Phillies.

       
  • Posts: 120 Dave P

    Avatar of Dave P

    I was in attendance at this game, regrettably. A few notes-

    - 1993 Phillies Night. They introduced some alumni before the game, including Ruben Amaro Jr. Ruben got booed.
    - Delmon Young struck out as many times as the phillies had hits. It was pathetic. There were a few boos the third time he struck out, but the fourth time nobody was having it. I don’t think anybody wasn’t booing.
    - When Papelbon was announced in the 9th inning, the crowd booed. There’s no way he can stick around here much longer with the way he’s pitching. He seems to have lost the strike zone. Might as well bring up Aumont for that role – at least Aumont still has fire in his arm.
    - More Braves fans in attendance than I remember in years prior. Also saw people wearing family guy shirts, eagles shirts, yankees and giants gear…Definitely a different vibe in the stadium now than in years past.
    - Probably the funniest “take me out to the ball game” I’ve ever heard. Guys were way behind with each line, but they stuck with it.

    This season looked okay until the all star break, but it’s been a free fall since. Since July 15th, the phillies have won 2 games. This has to be one of the worst post-all star break starts in franchise history.

     
    • Posts: 87 Johanna

      Avatar of Johanna

      I was there too. I didn’t even feel like singing take me out to the ball game and I ALWAYS sing. It’s just so hard to watch these guys. So disappointing.

       
  • Posts: 21 barry m

    Avatar of barry m

    Maybe they’re starting to notice that something’s a little off lately…

     
  • Posts: 1189 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    One more thing: if we have to rebuild (and we should), let’s hope it’s NOT under RAJ’s watch. Otherwise, well… it’s kinda obvious.

     
    • Posts: 0 Alex M.

      We will never be a team that is re-building as long has RAJ is on board. Like he mention a couple days ago, his job is to make this team competitive every season. The other question is can we even have a rebuild in Philly? Honestly no we cant, this team thrives on TV money and without billions coming from television the team cannot spend like they have. Not to mention Rollins and Howard are not going anywhere which limits the ability to truly rebuild. The Phillies are never going to be like the Astros, they will try to fill the holes and try to compete every year. I would agree that if we were to go into a small rebuild, Ruben would have to go because he has no concept of how to trade players away. Out of all of the sellers deals that we have made only Victorino and Blanton were the only good ones.

       
      • Posts: 0 George

        I’ve noticed that the Astros, after years of a “complete rebuild” are still mired in last place. Maybe the Phils shouldn’t be anything like them.

        The Phils, despite the money being paid to Howard and Rollins, still have a ton of money coming off the books at the end of the year. They aren’t going to be as poor as you seem to think.

        It’s also a bit early to be saying that the only “sellers deals” that were any good were the two you mentioned. It takes a little while for prospects to make it to th ML.

         
  • Posts: 0 Alex M.

    Bastardo was just named as one of the players that will be accepting a 50 game suspension in connection with Biogenisis. Well there goes our best reliever over the last couple weeks. The hits just keep on coming.

     
    • Posts: 4599 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I can’t explain it, but when I heard there were three more that hadn’t been named yet, I thought one would be a Phillie. I never said it, or wrote it, but I had a sneaking suspicion. I haven’t noticed any change in Bastardo’s body, he always had that big butt.

      Oh well, I guess we’re not going to win 45 or the 51 games left and make the playoffs now. ;-)

       
      • Posts: 0 Alex M.

        On the positive side we will likely see more of Robles and Jiminez to see if they have a future in the organization. I wonder what this suspension means for Bastardo’s future with the Phils, Ruben was really ticked with Ruiz after his 25 game suspension and he was a big part of the team. Even though we are out of it we will still miss Bastardo, Ryan Lawrence tweeted this… “Bastardo allowed 2 home runs in 42 2/3 innings. For frame of reference, Cincy lefty Aroldis Chapman has given up 5 HR in 43 1/3 innings.”

         
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Noteworthy to mention that close to 2 years removed from his last Phillies pitch, what we might call tough luck reliever Ryan Madson has been released by the Angels. My major most memory of Madson on the whole was the seemingly sloppy negotiation that developed when he was a free agent and the Phils sign Papelbon. People like myself, who supported Madson’s signing as closer have always had to have the brakes on in criticizing Papelbon because pitching wise, Papelbon’s worked out SIGNIFICANTLY better, and it just doesn’t look promising for Madson to turn it on again any time soon.

    The man did a tremendous job with the Phils for a while, never seemed to have the connection with Dubee you’d have liked to see, and for whatever it’s worth as his focus is probably reinventing his career, as opposed to the moneyhas hopefully made more than enough money needed to keep his family of 4 and wife Sara ahead of the game. Unless the comeback trail welcomes him back, it was a pleasure rooting for him as a player, and always will be for the class act he comes across as through the public eye.

    The Bridge to Lidge. Rock and Roll.

     
 
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