Phillies routed for seventh straight loss

Phils pitcher Raul Valdes can only watch as the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera rounds the bases after belting a home run in a five-run first. CARLOS OSORIO / AP
Phils pitcher Raul Valdes can only watch as the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera rounds the bases after belting a home run in a five-run first. CARLOS OSORIO / AP
Posted: July 29, 2013

DETROIT - Even before the 10-0 drubbing by the Tigers on Saturday night, there seemed to be little hope for Phillies starter Raul Valdes.

Manager Charlie Manuel laughed knowingly in the dugout before the game, but then turned serious. Cliff Lee was supposed to start. He sat with neck stiffness. Valdes is 35. He entered the game with a 7.59 ERA.

"You never know," Manuel said, no longer laughing. "Because the game is something, man."

This game was something, all right. Valdes became the first Phillies pitcher to allow 12 hits and nine runs in less than four innings since Mike Mimbs in 1996. The Phillies sank to a new low, six games under .500.

Their seventh straight loss was their worst yet. The Phillies own the longest active losing streak in the majors. It is their worst streak since 2011.

Manuel said that if Valdes hit his spots, he could maybe go for six innings. Valdes never ran a count to three balls. He made it through only 32/3 innings. The Tigers had plenty to hit.

After the second inning, trailing 8-0, Valdes rubbed a towel over his face. Manuel chomped on a piece of gum.

The Phillies had few other options. Adam Morgan started Saturday for triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he is recovering from a shoulder injury and lasted three innings. Seth Rosin started for double-A Reading. He owns a 4.46 ERA.

Again Saturday night, the organization said it hasn't decided whether it will buy or sell by the Wednesday non-waiver trade deadline. That is becoming harder and harder to support. The Phillies mustered two hits Saturday. Twice, fielders collided on pop-ups. To begin the game, Darin Ruf was the only starter batting over .278. He had 52 at-bats.

Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said organization brass would meet in Philadelphia next week and discuss deadline strategy. By then, there might not be much to discuss. The Phillies are 10 games out of the second wild-card spot.

Rain delayed the start of the game by 47 minutes, but the Phillies didn't waste any time in the first inning. Scherzer retired them in order in just three minutes. He would retire 18 of 19 batters, the only hit a double just past centerfielder Austin Jackson's outstretched glove.

In the bottom of the first, Valdes threw an 87 m.p.h. fastball belt-high to Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera homered. Later in the inning, he threw a 75 m.p.h. change-up belt-high to Matt Tuiasosopo, who homered to center field, 420 feet away.

The Tigers scored five runs in the inning. The Phillies haven't scored five runs in a game during their losing streak.

Down nine runs in the fifth inning, Manuel made six defensive changes. Three new players entered the game. The first baseman moved to second. The leftfielder moved to first. The centerfielder moved to third. The Tigers scored another run in the inning.

Hours before the changes in the fifth, Manuel sat in the dugout and said that sometimes the best move a manager can make is no move at all. On Saturday, for this Phillies team, all the moves in the world wouldn't have stopped the embarrassment.

Contact Zach Helfand


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