Maybe Derek Lowe should get in trouble more often. Facing him in just his second start after an arrest for driving under the influence, the Philadelphia Phillies looked clearly intoxicated trying to combat Lowe and the rest of the Atlanta pitching staff Friday night. Registering just two hits in nine fruitless innings, the Phillies' bats lacked the same magic they had the previous three games against the Nationals.
Lowe worked through six shutout innings, striking out four and surrendering just one walk on 97 pitches. Though the Phillies were getting the bats physically on the ball, the Atlanta defense behind Lowe quickly squashed any hopes of a safe arrival on the base pads. Indeed, it took until a Shane Victorino single in the seventh to break up a no-hitter, which would quickly remove the starter in favor of the Atlanta bullpen. From there, Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel would throw an inning each of hitless ball to lock up the two-hit combined shutout, leaving the Phillies scoreless for the first time since a 4-0 loss in Arizona on April 25th.
Atop the mound for the home-standing good guys, Cliff Lee continued his 2011 trend of striking out almost everyone in sight. Relieved after seven innings and 117 pitches, Lee sat down a freakishly-high 16 Braves batters via the backward K. It was the most strikeouts by any Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling tossed 16 of his own against the New York Yankees in September 1997.
Unfortunately, Lee would run into some trouble in third, issuing a walk and getting knocked around for a single and two doubles that would ultimately cross three over home plate.
Lee and Romero would stifle the Atlanta offense for the next five innings until Danys Baez forfeited an extra two in the ninth. After getting rocked for a three-run bomb against the Nats Wednesday night, it was clearly not the follow up for which Baez and the Phillies were hoping.
Looking to put an end to the Braves' six-game winning streak, the Phillies will turn to their vaunted stopper—the one, the only, Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick will be making his first start since an October 1, 2010 outing against, conveniently enough, the Atlanta Braves. KK made it through five innings in the 11-5 win. This evening, he will be confronted by the debuting Julio Teheran, one of the hottest pitching prospects in all of baseball.
First pitch is at 7:05. Let's give this young man a proper introduction to the Majors.