Guys, this really could not be going any better right now.
Last night, Tyler Cloyd started a game for the Phillies against the 2013 NL East champs, the Atlanta Braves and, things went about as you would expect.
Cloyd was blasted for seven runs in one-plus inning of work as the Braves routed the Phils 7-1. And while it sucks to lose to this despicable outfit from Atlanta, last night’s loss was more good news for a team that has hit a rough patch at precisely the right time, having lost seven of their last eight games.
The Phillies are now in a four-way tie for a protected draft pick, one game clear of Milwaukee, two ahead of San Francisco and three better than San Diego. And they still have three more games to play in Atlanta this weekend against a Braves team that is tied with St. Louis for the best record in the National League.
Both the Phils and Braves have something to play for. And it’s in both teams’ best interests for the Braves to win and the Phillies to lose, although, I’m sure the Phillies players don’t feel that way.
Still, when you throw Tyler Cloyd against one of the best offenses in the National League out there, you’re pretty much guaranteeing a certain outcome. Cloyd allowed 10 of the 13 batters he faced to reach base and is 2-7 with a 6.37 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts) this season. He also has a 15.43 ERA (24 earned runs in 14 innings) in four starts this month.
Ladies and gentlemen, the walking tank machine.
The offense has also done its part in this recent losing streak…
They have scored just 19 runs in their last eight games. They have not homered in that stretch, their longest streak without a home run since an eight-game drought in 1996. The Phillies have not gone more than eight games without a home run since an 11-game drought in 1989. – per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki
One of the few bright spots has been Jimmy Rollins who, while still not hitting home runs, has done a much better job as a table setter since Ryne Sandberg took over. Heading into last night’s game (in which he went 3 for 4), Rollins has posted an on-base percentage of .352, walking 23 times in 151 PAs (15.2% BB rate) since Sandberg took over.
In the 499 PAs he accumulated under Charlie Manuel, Rollins had an on-base percentage of just .306 and walked only 36 times (7.2% BB rate).
In other words, under Sandberg, Rollins has more than doubled his walk rate. That’s a very good sign for a hitter that has lost the ability to hit the long ball and has never hit for a high average.
Friday night, Atlanta will throw Kris Medlen against Cliff Lee. Normally, it would be great to see Lee own this bunch of clowns. But right now, a clunker from Lee wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Embrace the tank, Cliff. Embrace the tank.