Lannan injury adds to insult of Phils' recent play


Lannan injury adds to insult of Phils' recent play


ATLANTA -- John Lannan threw 45 pitches for the Phillies on Wednesday night. They may have been the last 45 pitches he ever throws for the ballclub.

Adding injury to the insult that has become this Phillies’ season, Lannan walked slowly off the mound in the second inning of his team’s 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves (see Instant Replay).

The loss gave the sad-sack Phillies a 5-19 record since the All-Star break and moved them a step closer to last place in the NL East. Only 6½ games separate them from last-place Miami. Don’t be surprised if the Phillies get there.

The Phils finished the road trip at 1-5. They went 1-8 on their previous road trip. The team returns home Friday night and the players might want to wear earplugs. The visitor that night will be the rampaging Los Angeles Dodgers. They entered Wednesday night with 39 wins in their previous 47 games. This might not be a fair fight.

Atlanta is just as hot as the Dodgers. Owners of the majors’ best record, the Braves are 19-4 over their last 22 games. Five of those wins have come against the Phillies.

The Braves took it to Lannan early Wednesday night. Jason Heyward hit the third pitch Lannan threw over the center-field wall and the Braves were off and running. In all, Lannan allowed five runs in 1 1/3 inning.

A left knee injury that has bothered Lannan for some time bounced him from the game in the second inning. The left-hander now looks at an uncertain future. He is under team control for next season, but it’s possible the team will pass on offering him salary arbitration and let him become a free agent.

“There are a lot of decisions to be made,” GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He is certainly somebody, like a lot of guys, that we’ll have to discuss. He’s pitched well at times. At times he’s struggled.”

Lannan, who missed time with a strained quadriceps tendon in the area of his left knee earlier this season, will be checked by doctors on Thursday. He could be facing season-ending surgery.

“I had the quad problem and some structural damage that happened over the years,” Lannan said. “The other thing, not the quad tendon, flared up before my last start. I tried to fight through it, but it was obviously affecting the way I was throwing.

“I want to get it fixed. That’s what it comes down to. Short-term that could create a lot of questions, but long-term, if I get it fixed, I feel I can have a decent career.”

Lannan signed a one-year deal worth $2.5 million with the Phillies in the offseason. He is 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA in 14 starts.

“It’s tough because I want to help the team,” he said. “I know what I can do when I’m healthy. I feel like I’m letting everyone down.”

Lannan has plenty of company in that area. Since the All-Star break, Phillies starting pitchers not named Cole Hamels have a combined ERA of 8.04.

Lannan goes down just as the Phillies are getting closer to getting two pitchers off the disabled list. Roy Halladay and Jonathan Pettibone will both make minor-league rehab starts on Thursday.

Halladay will probably make at least one other rehab start and could return to the rotation during the final week of August.

Down 5-0 after two innings, the Phillies got little going against Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy, who allowed just two runs over six innings.

Some of the Phillies' youngsters looked good. Domonic Brown singled, doubled and smacked his 27th homer. Darin Ruf homered and got a couple good breaks on fly balls to right field. Cody Asche made a couple of nice plays at third base.

Other than that, there’s not much to feel good about with this team.

“It’s tough,” Michael Young said. “There’s no way around that. As a player, there’s two directions you can go: You can pack it in or you can keep fighting. At that point, it comes down to pride as a player. You keep fighting -- scratch and claw and do anything you can to help the team win.”

Young said the mood of the team is down.

“But it should be down,” he said. “You’re not supposed to lose in the big leagues, especially with this organization. We’re not supposed to lose. At the same time, you should feel bad after a loss. But when you get to the ballpark the next day, it’s a new opportunity to show what you’re made of.”

World Series: Kluber, Perez help Indians shut out Cubs in Game 1

World Series: Kluber, Perez help Indians shut out Cubs in Game 1


CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber got the Cleveland Indians off to a striking start and Roberto Perez put away Chicago in the Cubs' first World Series game since 1945.

Kluber dominated into the seventh inning, Perez homered twice and the Indians beat the Cubs 6-0 in the opener Tuesday night. AL Championship Series MVP Andrew Miller escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh and got out of trouble in the eighth, preserving a three-run lead.

"It's almost like you have that extra level of intensity," said Kluber, who became the first Series pitcher to strike out eight batters in the first three innings.

In a matchup between the teams with baseball's longest championship droughts, the Indians scored twice in the first off October ace Jon Lester.

Perez drove in four runs with a fourth-inning solo shot and a three-run drive in the eighth against Hector Rondon, becoming the first Cleveland player and the only No. 9 batter to homer twice in a Series game.

"I've come a long ways," said Perez, who has three home runs in 27 at-bats during the postseason after hitting three in 153 during the regular season.

Francisco Lindor added three hits as the Indians improved to 8-1 this postseason. Cleveland manager Terry Francona is 9-0 in the Series, including sweeps by his Boston teams in 2004 and `07.

The Game 1 winner has taken the title in the last six Series and 17 of 19.

"I have no concerns," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It's the first game. I'm fine, we're fine."

Trevor Bauer, trying to come back from a sliced pinkie caused by a freak drone accident, starts Game 2 for the Indians on Wednesday night against Jake Arrieta. Because the forecast called for an increased chance of rain later in the evening, Major League Baseball took the extraordinary step of moving up the first pitch by an hour to 7:08 p.m.

Kluber painted the outside corner, and 24 of his 59 strikes were called by plate umpire Larry Vanover. Twelve batters were caught looking, including seven Cubs.

"I think his ball was moving too much today," said Perez, Cleveland's catcher. "We got guys off balance the whole night."

Kluber combined with Miller and Cody Allen to fan 15, and Chicago went 2 for 15 with 10 strikeouts with runners on base.

With the Indians hoping for their first title since 1948 and the Cubs seeking their first since 1908, Lester stumbled in the opening inning.

Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs off Lester, who had been 3-0 with an 0.43 ERA in three Series starts. Jose Ramirez had a run-scoring swinging bunt single and Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch. Perez connected in the fourth for a 3-0 lead.

Teams that combined for 174 seasons of futility, America's biggest droughts since the Great Plains' Dust Bowl of the 1930s, captivated even many non-baseball fans.

On a night of civic pride, LeBron James and the NBA's Cavaliers received their championship rings next door prior to their season opener, and Cleveland hosted a World Series opener for the first time.

The Cubs had not played in the Series since five weeks after Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender ending World War II.

Kluber, whose win in the All-Star Game gave the AL home-field advantage on the Series, improved to 3-1 in the postseason and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 0.74.

He was pitching on six days' rest, and his two-seam fastball was darting through the strike zone. Kluber struck out nine in six innings and walked none

Kyle Schwarber, making a surprise return in his first big league game since tearing knee ligaments on April 7, doubled off the right-field wall in the fourth -- a drive kept in by a stiff wind on a 50-degree night. Kluber then got Javier Baez to fly out.

Zobrist's leadoff double in the seventh finished Kluber, and Cleveland loaded the bases with no outs against Miller on Schwarber's walk and Baez's single. Pinch-hitter Willson Contreras flied to Rajai Davis in short center, and Davis threw home rather than double up Schwarber, who had strayed far off second.

Using his intimidating slider, Miller struck out Addison Russell and David Ross to escape the jam, then fanned Schwarber to strand runners at the corners in the eighth, his 46th pitch. Miller has thrown 20 scoreless innings in postseason play, including 13 2/3 innings with 24 strikeouts this year.

Allen completed Cleveland's fourth postseason shutout and second in a row.

Ramirez also had three hits each for the Indians, who beat Toronto in the ALCS despite hitting just .168. Zobrist had three hit for the Cubs.

Lester gave up three runs, six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings, and was rattled by Vanover's calls, barking at the umpire in the third, then stopping for a discussion at the inning's end.

Up next
While Arrieta went 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA during the regular season, he struggled to a 5.01 ERA in his final four starts. He allowed four runs over five innings in Game 3 of the NLCS.

Bauer lasted only two outs in his ALCS when his pinkie, cut in a drone accident, began bleeding.

They're back
Dexter Fowler took a called third strike from Kluber leading off the game, becoming the first Cubs player to bat in the Series since Don Johnson hit into a game-ending forceout against Detroit's Hal Newhouser in Game 7 in 1945.

Take a seat
Chicago benched right fielder Jason Heyward, in a 2-for-28 postseason slump, and started Chris Coghlan.

6 months later, Cubs' Kyle Schwarber returns for World Series Game 1

6 months later, Cubs' Kyle Schwarber returns for World Series Game 1

CLEVELAND — Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber's rehab finished just in time for the World Series.

Schwarber will bat fifth and be the designated hitter for the National League champions in Game 1 on Tuesday night against Cleveland's Corey Kluber. Schwarber hasn't played in the majors since tearing ligaments in his left knee on April 7 in a collision with teammate Dexter Fowler.

Dallas Cowboys orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Cooper operated 12 days later to repair torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments. He was expected to miss the rest of the season but was cleared to return on Oct. 17.

Schwarber played a pair of games in the Arizona Fall League, going 1 for 6 with a double and two walks, and flew to Cleveland on Monday.