A sweep the other way makes things pretty difficult for the Phils.
Make or break time? Let's not get ahead of ourselves too much. However, with 13 weeks remaining in the season, the Phillies have to get going ... and soon.
In that case it's good that the Phillies will be sending ace Cliff Lee to the mound to open the series against the Braves on Friday night. In 11 career starts against the Braves, Lee has a 2.74 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings. He also has a shutout against them, which doesn't include the gem he tossed on April 4.
In that one, Lee didn't allow a run or a walk and gave up just two hits in eight innings. He also had eight strikeouts and threw 78 of his 106 pitches for strikes.
It's not just a new thing, either. Last year Lee allowed one earned run in two starts covering 15 innings against the Braves and in his last five outings against them, he has posted a very impressive line:
38 IP, 26 H, 3 ER, 36 K, 1 BB, 0.71 ERA
That will work.
But can Lee get any runs? He is 7-0 with a 2.15 ERA in his last 11 starts, but the Phillies have scored just 18 runs in the five games since beating the Dodgers, 16-1.
Here's the Phillies lineup against lefty Paul Maholm:
1.) Michael Young, 3b
2.) Chase Utley, 2b
3.) Jimmy Rollins, ss
4.) Ryan Howard, 1b
5.) Dom Brown, lf
6.) Delmon Young, rf
7.) Ben Revere, cf
8.) Humberto Quintero, c
9.) Cliff Lee, p
Michael Young and Chase Utley have homered off Maholm in their careers and the rest of the players on the Phils' roster are 41 for 135 (.304) against the lefty with 12 extra-base hits.