There seems to be a dark cloud hanging over the Philadelphia Phillies these days.
The foundering Phillies hope to reverse their fortunes as they begin a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
The Phillies went 14-3 during one stretch in June to jump back into the NL East race, but have struggled since with injuries and off-the-field turmoil.
Philadelphia center fielder Jason Michaels was arrested early Sunday after allegedly punching a uniformed police officer outside a city nightclub. Michaels spent nine hours in custody before he was released on his own recognizance at about noon, Philadelphia police said.
Michaels arrest capped a week that began with Phillies closer Billy Wagner saying that the team had “no chance” to make the playoffs. Philadelphia also lost slugger Jim Thome when he was put on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis on Friday.
On the field, the Phillies have lost 11 of 14 to fall 9 1/2 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
Philadelphia’s bullpen blew a 3-0 lead after six innings on Sunday, resulting in a 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
The Pirates return home after a 3-7 road trip against Cincinnati, Washington and Milwaukee.
Matt Lawton had four singles and snapped an eighth-inning tie by scoring on a wild pitch as the Pirates rallied from a six-run deficit to beat the Brewers 11-10 Sunday.
Freddy Sanchez had three hits, including his first career homer, drove in two runs and scored twice for the Pirates, who used their biggest comeback of the season to stop a five-game losing streak.
“Some of the guys were hanging their heads after the game,” McClendon said. “I said, ‘Let me tell you something. We don’t care how you get those wins as long as you get them. It may have been an ugly win, but a win is a win.”