With Cliff Lee on the mound against the San Diego Padres you got the sense that the Phillies were finally going to get that elusive sweep. The Phillies had beaten the Friars in their last seven meetings, but alas Monday wasn’t the day.
Lee surrendered five runs in just four innings and was pulled. He didn’t appear to totally have his head in the game as evidenced by a weak pick off throw in the second inning to first base which allowed the runner on third to steal home.
“I learned from it,” Lee said. “I can’t allow that to happen. I didn’t even consider (a runner stealing home) as a possibility. Next time, I need to be more firm in my throws to first.”
The Phillies offense mustered up four runs, but when the Padres turned things over to their bullpen all hope was lost. Mike Adams (see below) struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the eighth, and got Raul Ibanez to ground out with the tying run sitting at third base.
The silver lining of Monday might just be the scoreless appearance of Brad Lidge. With the Phillies looking around the league for relief pitching, having Brad back healthy is a huge lift as long as he stays healthy. Brad’s slider looked just nasty. His fastball is now just into the high 80’s so you have to hope that Lidge can keep control of the slider.
Lidge missed the first 100 games of the season, and came back to a standing ovation.
The Braves also lost on Monday, so the Phillies will hold onto their 6 game lead in the division.
Trade Buzz –
After seeing what the Padres bullpen could do on Monday, it’s no wonder that the interest in Mike Adams and Heath Bell is back in the spotlight for the Phillies. Bell will be a free agent at the end of the season, but Mike Adams is arbitration eligible in 2012. With the uncertainty of Ryan Madson resigning in Philadelphia Mike Adams would be an excellent pitcher to take over the closer role. In 282 innings over the last four seasons Adams has an ERA of 2.13 and a 9.3 SO/9 innings pitched. As relievers go, that’s pretty badass.
Both these guys have a pretty serious price tag. Do I think it will happen, no. But I think that the Phillies are really going to try.
It looks as though Hunter Pence is off the trading block. The Astros have realized that they are not going to get the 3-4 players that they were expecting to nab in return for Pence, and have decided (unless someone gets stupid) to hold on to Pence.
As the Phillies go, I think that we should really look realistically at B.J. Upton. He’s not a power hitter, but has plenty of tools. He’d make an excellent left fielder, and comes at a pretty realistic price tag. Carlos Beltran is surely a much more powerful hitter, but the Mets have been asking for the moon in return for Beltran, and I don’t know if it will be worth it.
Take the poll from Monday, and let me know what you think. So far Upton leads the way.