Rookie Scott Mathieson faces the toughest challenge of his career when the Phillies and Mets settle the series score tonight at Shea. The game will be carried nationally by ESPN.
The hometown nine will try to shake of a bumbling loss yesterday afternoon, which saw the defense cough it up in one daft inning. Pat Burrell was at the center of the spectacle both offensively and defensively in spoiling a rare good effort by Jon Lieber. No word on whether Burrell will start tonight against right-hander John Maine (1-3, 2.45 ERA). Maine is riding a streak of 17 scoreless innings.
Hard-throwing rookie Scott Mathieson (1-2, 5.47 ERA) will make his fifth career start. Mathieson pitched good enough to earn his first career win Tuesday, giving up three runs and walking five in five innings against the Cardinals.
This and that
--- Chase Utley will likely return to the lineup after sitting out yesterday’s game. Utley had his 35-game hitting streak snapped Friday night.
--- The Phillies must decide what to do with Ryan Franklin by tomorrow. Franklin was designated for assignment a week ago when Randy Wolf came off the DL. If they aren't able to trade him, he'll become a free agent.
--- I would like to start a new trade rumor: Lieber to the Angels to replace injured starter Bartolo Colon. There’s little doubt Lieber would clear waivers because of the size of his remaining contract. Perhaps yesterday's start will capture the Halos' interest. Handing the ball the rest of the way to Lieber or displaced starter Ryan Madson is largely a toss-up anyway. Given the payroll flexibility this would create for the Phils next season, there's still little reason not to unload Lieber to any team that wants him.
--- Finally, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa accused former Phillie David Bell of a dangerous play after Bell upended shortstop David Eckstein with a hard slide on Saturday night.
"I know David Bell is a hard-playing guy and he was a St. Louis Cardinal one time, but he crossed the line," La Russa said. "When you watch that thing, that's the slide that's real dangerous and has been outlawed.
Replays showed that Bell slid well out of the base line and then popped up in time to catch a leaping Eckstein at third after the shortstop had taken a force throw on a bunt, sending him sprawling. La Russa called it a "rolling block."