Consider this: They’re now in a third-place tie with the Mets.
The Phillies opened a three-game series against the Braves on Friday, and lost again, 6-4, for their 11th defeat in 12 games. The loss sinks them to a season-worst nine games below .500 (50-59) and into a tie with the Mets (49-58) in the NL East.
Yes, times are quite depressing for these Phillies.
The 24-year-old Ethan Martin made an emphatic start to his MLB career but then fizzled as the Braves figured out the righty in the fifth inning. Martin threw gas out of the gate and struck out four of his first seven batters faced. Atlanta eventually solved the debuting Martin to put up a five-spot in the fifth, reversing a 2-1 Phillies lead into a 6-2 Braves advantage.
Darin Ruf and Delmon Young plated the Phils an early lead with back-to-back long balls, and Chase Utley also homered — his 15th — but it wasn’t enough to prevent first-place Atlanta (65-45) from winning its eighth straight game.
Frustration — which has probably been mounting — seemed to boil over in the ninth when Charlie Manuel and Jimmy Rollins were ejected. The two were tossed for arguing a strike-three call on Delmon Young in which he foul-tipped the third strike into catcher Brian McCann’s glove. However, replays showed the ball hit the ground first before McCann gloved it.
Manuel was given the heave-ho on the field, Rollins from the dugout, and even Utley, as stoic as they come, was seen barking at home plate umpire Vic Carapazza.
The ejection was Rollins’ second of his career and his first since 2004.
It’s been that kind of stretch for the Phillies.
John Lannan (3-4, 4.10) will start on three days rest against Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy (0-0, 17.18), who is coming off his first outing since recovering from Tommy John surgery.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m.