Despite his team's current state, Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel - at least publicly - believes the Phillies can turn things around after the All-Star break.
Cliff Lee hopes to build on his first win of the season - his team's lone victory in its last 11 games - as he and the Phillies look to continue their recent success against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Friday night.
Winner of five consecutive NL East titles, Philadelphia (37-50) is last in the division and below .500 at the All-Star break for the first time since it was 40-47 in 2006. The Phillies' current record is their worst at the break since they were 24-61 in 1997.
Though Philadelphia's 4-3 home loss to Atlanta on Sunday was its fourth straight, Manuel isn't ready to throw in the towel."Have I tried everything? I think I have, yes," said Manuel, whose team is 14 games behind first-place Washington and 10 out of a wild-card spot. "But at the same time, I'm still willing to try something else.
"I believe we can (make the playoffs) because I'll always believe, (but) we've got to play probably the best baseball we've ever played."
The Phillies are 1-9 with Utley in the lineup since he made his 2012 debut June 27 from a knee injury. He's hitting .235 with two homers and three RBIs.
Howard went 2 for 8 in two games versus Atlanta last weekend in his first action since tearing his Achilles in Game 5 of last year's NL division series.
Center fielder Shane Victorino , who was benched Sunday and has been the subject of trade rumors, is 2 for 20 in his last five contests.
Utley has hit .368 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 27 career contests, including the postseason, at Coors Field. Howard is batting .381 with four homers and 16 RBIs in his last 10 regular season and playoff games in Denver.
Philadelphia, which took two of three from the Rockies (33-52) at home June 19-21, has won 11 of 13 at Coors, including two games in the 2009 division series.
Lee (1-5, 3.98 ERA) is 2-0 with a 1.16 ERA in three regular and postseason starts against the Rockies, but has not faced them since he allowed an earned run in 7 1-3 innings of a 5-4 victory at Coors in Game 4 of the 2009 NLDS.
The left-hander gave up two runs and struck out nine in eight innings July 4 for his first victory in 14 starts this season, 9-2 at New York."I would've loved to have a win a long time ago," said Lee, who was 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA in his previous four starts. "It's something I can't control."
All-Star Carlos Gonzalez , 3 for 7 with two walks against Lee, hopes to help the Rockies continue to build some confidence after they took two of three at Washington last weekend.
"You look for little incremental things in relation to where we're at and where we're trying to get to," manager Jim Tracy said.
Gonzalez is batting .330 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs in 61 games but is 2 for 15 with seven strikeouts in his last four.
Facing Philadelphia for the first time, Colorado starter Christian Friedrich (4-6, 5.98) is 0-5 with a 7.85 ERA in six starts since winning at Arizona on June 4. The rookie left-hander allowed six runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss at St. Louis on July 5.
He's 1-3 with a 9.62 ERA in five outings at home.
|June 25, 2012||Brian Schneider||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle - out 3-5 weeks|
|June 07, 2012||Freddy Galvis||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 05, 2012||Placido Polanco||Day-to-Day||Left game - left index finger laceration|
|June 02, 2012||Jose Contreras||60-Day DL||Torn UCL, right elbow - out for season|
|May 28, 2012||Roy Halladay||15-Day DL||Right latissimus dorsi strain|
|May 16, 2012||Placido Polanco||Day-to-Day||Left knee contusion|
|July 04, 2012||Jason Giambi||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|June 17, 2012||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Sore right hamstring|
|June 03, 2012||Juan Nicasio||15-Day DL||Strained left knee|
|June 02, 2012||Jordan Pacheco||Day-to-Day||Sore left quadricep|
|June 02, 2012||Juan Nicasio||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left knee|
|May 31, 2012||Troy Tulowitzki||15-Day DL||Strained left groin muscle|
DENVER (AP) -- Josh Rutledge had to use borrowed cleats, bats and gloves for his first major league game with the Colorado Rockies . The hastily arranged ensemble worked out just fine in his splashy debut.
Rutledge had two hits and two RBIs, fellow rookie Christian Friedrich pitched six strong innings, and the Rockies beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Friday night.
"I couldn't have dreamed it up any better," said Rutledge, recalled from Tulsa as part of a series of moves that included placing star first baseman Todd Helton on the 15-day disabled list with a hip injury. "That was definitely fun. The first game, you get shaving cream in the face. That was awesome."
Rutledge was promoted from Double-A Tulsa earlier Friday, one of a series of moves that included placing first baseman Todd Helton on the 15-day disabled list with a hip injury. His equipment didn't arrive until after the game, but the shortstop looked right at home anyway.
"He acts like he's been here 10 years," said Friedrich, who got the best of Cliff Lee in his first career appearance against the Phillies.
Getting Rutledge outfitted for the game was a team effort, including a particularly generous showing by injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki .
"I wore Tulo's cleats, and his batting gloves, I used DJ LeMahieu's bats and Jordan Pacheco 's gloves," Rutledge said.
Rutledge helped Friedrich (5-6) win for the first time in more than a month. The left-hander allowed one run and five hits, struck out seven and walked one while improving to 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in his last seven starts.
"The kid threw all of his pitches and he threw strikes when he had to," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He did pretty good, we didn't hit him."
Philadelphia, mired in last place in the NL East, has dropped five straight and 11 of 12.
Lee (1-6), who got his only win of the season in his previous start July 4 against the New York Mets , allowed three runs - two earned - and nine hits in six innings.
Philadelphia fell to 4-11 in Lee's starts this season after going 22-10 in his 32 starts a year ago.
"I shake my head because I look out there and see Lee pitching. I can't believe we can't win some games with him pitching. We got outplayed," Manuel said.
Rutledge broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth when he picked up his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly. Pinch-hitter Eric Young Jr., batting for Friedrich, followed with a run-scoring single to give the Rockies a 3-1 lead.
Colorado broke the game open in the seventh, pushing across three runs against Michael Schwimer .
Ramon Hernandez , activated from the disabled list earlier Friday, singled in Carlos Gonzalez , who had three hits. Michael Cuddyer , an outfielder who made a rare start at first in place of the injured Helton, followed with a run-scoring triple.
Cuddyer scored when All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz threw wildly on an attempted pickoff for an error.
Rutledge, who also made several nifty defensive plays, got his first big league hit and first career RBI off Lee in the second when he doubled in Cuddyer.
"He had a great day, him and Pacheco," Lee said. "They had some good at-bats. They swung the bat well, both of those guys. You normally don't expect that out of the bottom of the lineup but they were a big part of them winning tonight."
Jimmy Rollins hit a tying RBI double in the third for Philadelphia. He also tripled and scored in the eighth on Chase Utley 's sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay , on the disabled list since late May because of a muscle strain on his right side, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday after making a successful rehab start Thursday for Single-A Clearwater. ... LHP Raul Valdes went on the 15-day DL with a right hip strain, and the Phillies recalled LHP Joe Savery from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill his roster spot. ... The Rockies also placed C Wil Nieves on the DL with turf toe in his right foot and optioned reliever Tyler Chatwood to Double-A Tulsa in addition to recalling RHP Mike Ekstrom from Triple-A Colorado Springs. ... Hernandez missed 42 games while on the DL recovering from a left hand injury. ... The Phillies are one loss away from matching a season-high six-game losing streak. ... Friedrich's previous win was on June 4 at Arizona. ... Philadelphia lost for just the third time in its past 13 games at Coors Field.