Preview: Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.44 ERA) tries to keep pace with Roy Halladay and the rest of the Cy Young frontrunners when the Phillies go for the doubleheader sweep tonight at 7:35. Right-hander Alex Sanabia makes his 2011 starting rotation debut for the Fish.
Notes: Here's your "sign of the times" lineup: Rollins SS, Mayberry CF, Utley 2B, Pence RF, Ibanez LF, Gload 1B, Ruiz C, Orr 3B. I'm a little surprised Charlie Manuel didn't use the opportunity to give John Bowker a start somewhere, just for jags. So far, he's 0-for-6 with five strikeouts as a pinch hitter and he's looked pretty brutal in each of those chances. Michael Martinez has to be in the same camp as Bowker these days. The utilityman is hitting below the Mendoza Line now (.197) and clearly has no plan when he's at the plate; swinging at balls over his head. The Phils won this afternoon because of a couple of fine defensive plays, but could have easily blown it, and some of the late-inning at bats by Mini-Mart and Bowker would have loomed larged if it happened. So Pete Orr gets the bonus start at third tonight, while Ross Gload starts for Howard, who went 0-4 with two strikeouts this afternoon.
So, despite almost no intrigue since - what - the Braves sweep or even earlier? - there are a couple of dumb, worrisome storylines developing, including the continued struggles of Antonio Bastardo, the bench and an injured infield, including Wilson Valdez, who, when healthy, is a big upgrade over Martinez at this point. There are definitely a number of stinky players on the roster.