This Is Last Place: Lee Throws 10 Shutout Innings, Phils Lose 1-0

This Is Last Place: Lee Throws 10 Shutout Innings, Phils Lose 1-0

On one hand, Cliff Lee was magnificent on Wednesday night. Not only did he become the first pitcher to last 10 innings into a game since Aaron Harang in 2007, and the first Phillie to do so since Terry Mulholland in 1993; Lee was also the first pitcher to go 10 with a shutout since Mark Mulder in '05, the first Phillie since Steve Carlton in '81.

Lee allowed seven hits, walked none, and struck out seven on an efficient 102 pitches. Had he not been due up in the top of the 11th, he almost certainly could have gone another round or two at least.

On the other hand, Matt Cain was equally dominant for the San Francisco Giants. The newly-minted hundred millionaire held the Phillies to zero runs and two hits over a full nine. Really, the only difference between the two starters was Cain's bullpen kept the opposing team off the scoreboard, and Lee's did not -- or to put that another way, the Giants found a way to generate a run, whereas the Phils could not.

However you choose to look at it, the end result is a 1-0 loss in 11 innings, putting Philadelphia in dead last in the NL East for the first time in almost five years.

Antonio Bastardo was handed the loss, though he lacked help defensively. With one out and a runner on first, Angel Pagan slapped a sharp ground ball toward third that was too hot to handle for Ty Wigginton, who bobbled the ball and had no play. Two pitches later, Melky Cabrera lined a single over the glove of Freddy Galvis to right, scoring Brandon Belt as Hunter Pence's desperation throw arrived late.

Of course, Wigginton was still on the field due to the plate struggles of Placido Polanco, who has one extra base hit and one RBI to go along with his .220 on-base percentage. Wigginton was 1-for-4 on Wednesday.

You may have trouble pinning that problem on game management, but Charlie Manuel probably didn't help his own cause either.

After Carlos Ruiz led off the top of the 11th with a double, and Galvis sacrificed him to third, Manuel went to his big lefty for the pinch hit. Giants manager Bruce Bochy matched Jim Thome with veteran lefthander Javier Lopez, who K'd the owner of 604 home runs with a bunch off-speed slop.

Manuel also stuck with John Mayberry after pinch hitting for Juan Pierre on the next at bat when Bochy matched with Clay Hensley, a right-on-right battle. Mayberry has a .212 average with one extra base hit, two RBIs, and nine strikeouts. He ended the threat with a groundout.

And this is a last place team.

After dropping two of three in San Francisco, the Phillies have lost three of four series this season, and for the first time since April 20, 2007, this team finds itself in the NL East basement all by their lonesome. A young, hungry club wound up overtaking the New York Mets for the division crown last time, just one example why it's much too early to panic already.

But on the OTHER other hand, one theory is this franchise might be trending in the opposite direction. Big rebound series with the San Diego Padres begins for the Phillies on Thursday.

Malcolm Jenkins is prepared for both a zombie apocalypse or Donald Trump as president

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Malcolm Jenkins is prepared for both a zombie apocalypse or Donald Trump as president

A zombie apocalypse or Donald Trump becoming the President of the United States of America are both nightmare scenarios for many people. But Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is prepared in the case of either.

At least that's what he says.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a bye this week, so Jenkins found the time to post the below video to Twitter, teaching us a little bit about his quirks.

"Something you might not know about me is that I'm a half-hearted doomsday prepper. For the last two or three years I've been silently preparing myself for a zombie apocalypse... or Donald Trump becoming President, whichever comes first. Communications, food, protection, everything, I've been stockpiling. I took a zombie survival course a couple of years ago," Jenkins said.

"Hopefully I won't have to use my skills."

 

Tonight's lineup: Tommy Joseph's last start of the year?

Tonight's lineup: Tommy Joseph's last start of the year?

Tommy Joseph, who has been missing from the lineup lately, starts at first base and bats fourth tonight.

Joseph will most likely be making his final start of the season with Ryan Howard expected to start the final games of the season. Joseph is batting just .235 against the Braves this season, but does have two home runs. The rookie first baseman has 21 home runs and 15 doubles in 104 games during his first season in the majors. 

Howard will be playing what are almost definitely his final games in a Phillies uniform this weekend vs. the Mets.

Maikel Franco bats fifth and plays third base. Franco, who has been hot lately, has three home runs and is batting .320 over his last 25 at-bats. He will look to continue his success against the Braves, as five of his 25 home runs this season have come against them.

Cameron Rupp gets a day off behind the plate and will be replaced by veteran catcher A.J. Ellis. Ellis has exceeded expectations in a short sample since coming over in the Carlos Ruiz trade last month. Ellis is 8 for 28 with a home run and nine RBIs in 10 games with the Phils. He's batting .285, which is astronomically better than his paltry .194 mark with the Dodgers. 

Part of the reason for Ellis' start could be his history against Braves starter Josh Collmenter. He is 4 for 11 with two home runs and four walks against the former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher.

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Maikel Franco, 3B
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. A.J. Ellis, C
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P

And for the Braves:

1. Mallex Smith, CF
2. Dansby Swanson, SS
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Nick Markakis, RF
6. Anthony Recker, C
7. Jace Peterson, 2B
8. Rio Ruiz, 3B
9. Josh Collmenter, P