It's been 36 innings since the Phillies held the lead in a ballgame. They'll try to mount an attack against left-hander Noah Lowry in the second of four games with the Giants tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Preview: The Phillies are sinking like stones against left-handed pitching. Team OPS against the lefties is .702 and some of the worst offenders are the right-handed hitters (Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, Carlos Ruiz, Wes Helms). Lately it seems they’re scoring most of their runs late or when the game is lost. They actually lead all of baseball in runs scored from the seventh-inning on with 96.
Yesterday, they suffered their worst loss of the season score-wise, and it was Adam Eaton’s shortest outing in a Phillies uniform. The big blow came off the bat of Fred Lewis, a grand slam just over the short porch in left-center, helping chase Eaton to the showers after two innings. It isn’t the kind of game the Phillies had in mind when they signed him to a lucrative deal this off-season. His ERA now sits at 6.28 and he couldn’t find the strike zone again. Under different circumstances, he’d be in danger of losing his job. No chance of that happening here.
On top of it, the Phils banged out two hits, one from Ruiz, one from Shane Victorino. Matt Morris pitched very well, but not that well. He caught an offense laboring through its worst patch of the season.
Noah Lowry (5-4, 3.08 ERA) has been very consistent and a big reason why is he’s allowed only two home runs. Hardball Times is showing 50 percent of his batted balls are ground balls. Fellow left-hander Cole Hamels (7-2, 3.74 ERA) has about 50 more strikeouts than Lowry; 86 trails only Jake Peavy’s 92. Unlike Lowry, Hamels has given up the long ball; he's tied with Eaton and Jamie Moyer with 10 of them, fourth most in the NL.
Lineups are set: Barry Bonds is in the lineup as he continues his chase of Hank Aaron. Phillies go with Jayson Werth in right field, batting second. In limited opportunities, Werth is one of the few Phillies that has hit left-handed pitching well (25 AB, 1.088 OPS, 2 HR). Rod Barajas starts behind the plate. Abraham Nunez, hitting .364 against left-handers, starts at third (shades of David Bell’s 2005 when he had that high batting average against left-handers). [Live Boxscore]
Phillies sign college closer
Northern Illinois pitcher Matt German is now a member of the Phillies, reports Beerleaguer spring correspondent Billy Mac. As a fifth-year senior, German was allowed to sign with the Phillies before next week’s draft. He is NIU’s career saves leader with 26. This year, the lefty was 5-2 with 13 saves and an ERA of 1.76. He will report to the Phillies' spring training complex in Clearwater, Fla. [Article]