The Philadelphia Phillies are inching closer to getting out of last place. It’s not that much further to first place.
The Phillies try to keep working their way back to .500 and out of the NL East basement as their series with the stumbling San Francisco Giants continues.
Philadelphia got off to a disappointing start in Charlie Manuel’s first season as manager. The Phillies have been below the break-even mark ever since April 22, but have won four of five to get within two victories of .500.
Despite still being in last place in the NL East, Philadelphia is just 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Florida Marlins. The Phillies, who went 9-5 in the second half of May, are only a game behind the fourth-place New York Mets.
“We’re not paying attention to it,” Manuel said of getting into first place. “We got to get out of the cellar first.”
Solid starting pitching has been a big help lately to the Phillies. Their rotation has gone 10-4 with a 3.48 ERA in the last 16 games.
Now Philadelphia sends its hottest starter to the hill in the second game of this series.
Cory Lidle has won his last three outings, surrendering four earned runs in 21 2-3 innings with five walks and 15 strikeouts.
Lidle hopes to duplicate the performance of Randy Wolf, who threw 6 2-3 scoreless innings in Philadelphia’s 5-2 victory over San Francisco on Monday.
It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Giants, who are riding their worst losing streak since a six-game skid in August 2003. They recorded their first losing May since 2001, going 11-16.