Philadelphia has dropped six of their last nine games, and as Atlanta’s lead in the NL East keeps growing, Phillies manager Larry Bowa may be forced to shake his middling team up a bit.
“I think I’ve given everybody an opportunity to come out of their so-called funks,” Bowa said. “It’s not getting done.”
Rookie center fielder Marlon Byrd is not one of those players, as he’s 16-for-31 in his last 12 games, raising his average from .177 to .273.
Philadelphia is coming off a 5-3 loss at Anaheim on Wednesday night, as the Phillies were held to three runs or fewer for the 28th time this season. They are 6-22 in those games, but 28-9 when scoring at least four runs.
“As far as our offense is concerned, we definitely have to pick it up,” Bowa said. “To compete at the high level that we want to, we have to score runs. Our pitching’s been great up until now. But, being a realist, you can’t expect that to happen all year.”
The Phillies turn to Kevin Millwood, who bounced back from consecutive losses for the first time this season with a solid effort in his last start. The right-hander, who pitched a no-hitter on April 27, allowed one run and six hits in seven innings of Philadelphia’s 7-1 win over Oakland on Sunday.
The Reds are coming off a three-game sweep over the Devil Rays, capped by a 2-1 win on Thursday. Austin Kearns stole home on the back end of a double steal and homered for the second time in three days.
The Reds improved to 6-3 in interleague play this season after posting a 2-10 mark last season.
Right-hander Jimmy Haynes, making his eighth start of the season, will try again for his first win. In his last start, Haynes gave up four runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings of the Reds’ 5-0 loss to Toronto on Sunday.
STANDINGS: Phillies - 3rd place, 1 1/2 GB, NL East. Reds - 4th place, 4 GB, NL Central.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Millwood (8-3, 3.05 ERA). Millwood is 5-2 with a 3.29 ERA in seven career starts against the Reds.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Haynes (0-5, 8.91 ERA). Haynes is 0-1 and 4.86 in three starts since returning from the disabled list. He is 1-2 with a 3.93 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .323 avg.; Jim Thome, 15 HRs and 48 RBIs; Bobby Abreu and Jimmy Rollins, 41 runs; Rollins, 7 SBs. Reds - Jose Guillen, .340 avg.; Adam Dunn, 20 HRs; Kearns, 55 RBIs; Aaron Boone, 42 runs and 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - Left-handed batters are hitting just .208 against RHP Millwood this season. … 1B Thome is 6-for-12 with a homer against RHP Haynes. … Thome needs one home run to become the 67th player in history with 350. Reds - OF Adam Dunn is 3-for-9 in his career with two home runs— both solo shots—against Millwood. … Left-handed batters are hitting .400 against RHP Haynes this season. … OF Griffey is 1-for-8 against Millwood.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 15-16 on the road; Reds - 18-16 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - INF Tyler Houston (finger), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL. Reds - INF Ryan Freel (hamstring), 15-day DL; IF Barry Larkin (calf), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL.