The Phillies are a weekend sweep away from being 19.5 games back in the NL East. They open a three-gamer with the Braves Friday night behind Cliff Lee.
Lee (11-6, 3.09) has exceptional career numbers vs. the Braves. In 13 starts, he's struck out 90 and walked seven, for a 12.86 K/BB ratio -- the best in major-league history for a SP vs. a specific opponent.
Lee has actually allowed more homers vs. Atlanta (eight) than free passes.
Minor (13-5, 3.08) hasn't faced the Phils yet this season, but had a 3.46 ERA in four starts against them last year. Ryan Howard did pretty much all of the damage against the young southpaw, homering three times in 15 at-bats.
At 63-77, the Phils would need to go 22-0 to cover on their over/under win total of 84.5. They'd need to go 18-4 to avoid their first losing season since 2002. But they have the worst ERA in the NL (4.27) and the second-worst run differential in baseball (minus-120), so that ain't happenin'.
It's kind of crazy that the Marlins -- whose most expensive active player makes $2.75 million -- have a better run differential than the Phillies.
Martin moves to 'pen
Rookie right-hander Ethan Martin is headed to the bullpen for the season’s final three weeks, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee announced on Friday.
Martin, 24, showed some good signs over seven starts, but had a 6.90 ERA and struggled each time out to retire his opponents after the first trip through the batting order. His opponents hit .200 with three extra-base hits, six walks and 23 strikeouts the first time they saw him in a game, but .324 with 13 extra-base hits, 15 walks and 11 strikeouts after that.
1) Cesar Hernandez, CF
2) Jimmy Rollins, SS
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Carlos Ruiz, C
5) Darin Ruf, 1B
6) Cody Asche, 3B
7) Freddy Galvis, LF
8) John Mayberry, RF
9) Cliff Lee, P