Monday, July 7, 2014

Hapless Phillies travel to Milwaukee to finish road trip

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 7 2014, 12:00PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

As if things have not been bad enough for the Phillies, the club now finds itself in Milwaukee to open a four-game series on Monday against the best team in the National League.

The Phillies were swept over the weekend by the Pirates in Pittsburgh and have dropped nine of their previous 10 contests.

"This is not where we want to be," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "We need to come to the park with a purpose, a plan, and execute. We haven't been doing that lately and the results show it."

Chase Utley remains a bright spot for the PhilliesThe Phillies are a season-low 13 games below .500. No Phillies team has had a worse record through 87 games since 1997.

"You can't think about that stuff right now," said outfielder Marlon Byrd. "We need to look at things day-by-day and go from there."

Byrd is perhaps the Phillies biggest commodity with the trade deadline now less than a month away. With a homer on Sunday he now has 17 on the season while hitting .266. His OPS+ of 124 ranks 22nd in the NL and he's tied for seventh in total bases with 166.

Byrd is signed through 2015 and owed $8 million, which is a reasonable contract for a club to inherit in any potential deal.

"We are exploring all options," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week. "There's really nothing off the table right now."

The Brewers have the best record in the NL and have four players heading to Minnesota for next week's All-Star Game. To say Milwaukee and Philadelphia are heading in opposite directions would be an understatement.

The Brewers were the first club in the majors to reach the 50 win plateau and are two wins shy of tying a franchise record of 54 wins prior to the All-Star break.

On the mend: Cliff Lee tossed two scoreless innings Sunday in a rehab start with Clearwater. On the disabled list since May 19 with an elbow strain, Lee was scheduled to throw four innings but the game was halted due to rain. The left-hander surrendered one hit and struck out two. He's expected to make another rehab start later this week. 

Minnesota bound: Chase Utley will start at second base for the NL in next week's All-Star Game in Minnesota. The honor marks the sixth time Utley was selected to play in the Mid-Summer Classic and first time since 2010. The only player in franchise history selected to start in more All-Star Games than Utley is Mike Schmidt (nine).

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.

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