Losers of four of their last five, the Phillies will receive a boost Wednesday when Cliff Lee takes the hill for the first time in three weeks.
Lee has been officially activated from the 15-day disabled list, as the Phillies try to avoid being swept at home in a three-game series by the Mets. Lee, who is 0-1 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts this season, missed three weeks with a left oblique strain.
The left-hander hasn't pitched since his 10-inning performance April 18 in San Francisco.
To make room on the roster, reliever Michael Schwimer was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
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DETROIT — What figures to be the Phillies’ most challenging road trip so far is not off to a good start.
The Phillies lost for the second time in as many nights to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander manhandled the Phillies in leading his team to a 3-1 victory.
The Phillies were held to just three hits in the first eight innings. They rallied for a run on two hits and a sacrifice fly by Tommy Joseph after Verlander had exited in the ninth.
The Phils have lost four out of their last five games and are 25-21 on the season.
After a slow start, the Tigers have come alive. They have won eight of their last nine.
The series ends Wednesday afternoon. The Phillies open a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday. They have the best record in the majors.
Starting pitching report
Jeremy Hellickson delivered a very solid start of seven innings and three runs, but received no run support. He walked just one and struck out seven.
Hellickson has allowed just five earned runs over 20 innings in his last three starts. He has walked just three batters and struck out 20 over that span.
Verlander gave up just two singles and a double over eight shutout innings. He walked two and struck out 10.
Verlander’s 108th and final pitch of the game was a 97 mph fastball past Odubel Herrera.
Detroit closer Francisco Rodriguez survived a shaky ninth for the save. He squandered his team’s shutout bid by allowing the Phillies’ only run.
The save was Francisco’s 400th. He is the sixth pitcher in big-league history to reach that milestone.
At the plate
Ryan Howard entered the night hitting .083 (4 for 48) in the month of May. Three of those hits were homers and the other was a double. Howard had not had a single since April 29, a span of 19 games. He ended the singles drought with a base hit against Verlander in the second inning.
Howard popped out, struck out and grounded out in his next three at-bats as his average actually climbed to .159.
Howard batted fifth and Joseph hit fourth. Joseph, who had a homer and a double in Monday night’s game, stung the ball right at the shortstop and leftfielder, respectively, in his first two at-bats before singling in his third at-bat. He lined a sacrifice fly to left for the Phils’ only run in the ninth.
Freddy Galvis doubled twice for the Phils.
Miguel Cabrera, who had two homers and a double on Monday night, continued to scorch the Phils. He doubled home a run in the first inning and plated another with a groundout in the sixth. Victor Martinez, who drove in the go-ahead run Monday night, drove in the Tigers’ third run with a single in the sixth.
In the field
Catcher Carlos Ruiz threw out two runners trying to steal second.
Third baseman Maikel Franco unsuccessfully tried to backhand a bounding ball from J.D. Martinez in the sixth inning. If Franco makes the play, he probably starts an around-the-horn double play. Instead, it got by him, was generously scored a double and led to the Tigers’ second run of the game.
Cody Asche, rehabbing from an oblique strain with the Double A Reading club, hit a two-run home run Tuesday night.
The series concludes Wednesday afternoon. Aaron Nola (3-3, 2.85) starts for the Phillies against Detroit right-hander Anibal Sanchez (3-5, 6.23).
It seems like Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has decided pulling Odubel Herrera in the seventh inning of a tied game on Monday is enough punishment for failing to run out a ground ball.
The centerfielder will be back in his customary leadoff spot when the Phillies take on Justin Verlander and the Tigers tonight at Comerica Park (see game notes).
Much of the talk surrounding the Phillies in the last 24 hours has centered on Herrera after Mackanin yanked him from the game Monday (see story). After all, Herrera's .335 batting average leads an offense-starved team that averages just 3.24 runs per game, second-worst in the majors. Before he was pulled on Monday, Herrera was 3 for 4 with an RBI and had a 15-pitch at-bat against starter Mike Pelfrey to start the game.
Tommy Joseph will start again at first base after clobbering his second homer of the season on Monday. Despite another night of immense struggles (see story), Ryan Howard is again in the lineup as the designated hitter in the American League park.
The only change to to the lineup from Monday see Carlos Ruiz starting behind the plate to catch Jeremy Hellickson.
Star outfielder Justin Upton will sit again for Detroit as he nurses a quad injury. Mike Aviles will start in his place in left.
Both teams' lineups can be found below. (Updated, 5:43 p.m. — Tigers leadoff man Ian Kinsler has been scratched because of flu-like symptoms.)
1. Odubel Herrera CF
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Maikel Franco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Ryan Howard DH
6. Carlos Ruiz C
7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
8. Tyler Goeddel LF
9. Peter Bourjos RF
1. Cameron Maybin CF
2. J.D. Martinez RF
3. Miguel Cabrera 1B
4. Victor Martinez DH
5. Nick Castellanos 3B
6. Steven Moya LF
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
8. Mike Aviles 2B
9. Jose Iglesias SS
A piece of modern baseball history will be on display in Philadelphia for the next couple of weeks.
The original contract Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in April 1947 that allowed him to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball will be featured at the National Constitution Center from May 26 until June 5.
Mikalai Kontilia, CEO of Collectors Cafe, the company loaning the contract to the Constitution Center, brought both the Dodgers' document and the contract Robinson signed with the minor league Montreal Royals in October 1945 to The Comcast Network's Breakfast on Broad show on Tuesday morning.
"What's amazing is, these contracts, finally, after 60-some odd years, have been unearthed, discovered and the American people can finally see the Jackie Robinson contracts," Kontilia said.
The Dodgers' contract plays an important role in American history, and not just in terms of sport. Many people point to then-Dodgers owner Branch Rickey's signing Robinson as a starting point in the American civil rights movement.
Kontilia said a historic documentarian appraised the contracts at a value of $36 million.
For more on the contracts, check out the segment from Breakfast on Broad.
Photo credit of Robinson signing contract: DodgersNation.com.