video thumbnail

PHI@SF: Lee hurls eight strong frames of two-run ball

Charlie Manuel is challenging all Phillies batters.

"We've scored [129] runs in 36 games, we're hitting .248. For me, that means inconsistent," Manuel said prior to Philadelphia's 3-2 loss on Friday. "That's the first thing you can look at. You can cut it any way you want to, but that's not good enough. If we stay like we are, that's how we're going to play. We have to start hitting better. We need to improve."

On Friday, the Phillies mustered just two runs on seven hits, wasting a strong effort from starter Tyler Cloyd in the team's third straight loss.

Manuel would prefer his team play like it did last Monday, when the Phillies offense backed starter Cliff Lee with six runs and the southpaw returned the favor with a stellar showing on the mound.

"We definitely haven't been playing up to our potential. We've been really far short of that, to be honest with you," Lee said after his last outing. "I think [this win] is more of a real depiction of what we are. Yeah, I expect us to pick it up a little bit. We've kind of underperformed this first month, and it's time for us to turn it on."

Lee will take the hill again on Saturday, when he faces the D-backs at Chase Field. Manuel is concerned that his starters are feeling squeezed by the lack of run support.

"I think, after a while, it can bother you some," Manuel said. "You pitch a good game and then you don't score, it's hard."

Trevor Cahill certainly knows how that feels. The D-backs right-hander will toe the rubber on Saturday hoping to extend the team's win streak to six games. Arizona scored only 11 runs total in Cahill's first six outings of the season. A nine-run outburst by the offense his last time out was a much-needed change of pace.

Cahill is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA over his last three starts. He held the Dodgers to two runs in seven innings on Monday.

"I was able to make pitches when I had to," Cahill said.

Phillies: Lee looking for consecutive wins
• Lee limited the Giants to two runs in eight innings on Monday as the lefty earned his first win since April 9. He is averaging about seven innings per start, and has logged at least eight frames in three of his seven outings.

• Roy Halladay spoke with reporters on Friday and apologized to the fans of Philadelphia for his performance over the last two seasons. Halladay is slated for shoulder surgery on May 15 that will take care of a bone spur, frayed labrum and torn rotator cuff.

D-backs: Gibson comments on criticized umpires
• D-backs manager Kirk Gibson offered a different perspective on the recent controversy over questionable calls made this week.

"You can't get too bogged down in the criticism and the magnification and the people who are all weighing in on it," Gibson said. "It's pretty easy to weigh in on it. Everybody is writing on the Internet and they're tweeting about it and they're ripping these people apart, it's just the society we live in. I don't like it."

Worth noting
• Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins notched the 44th career leadoff home run on Friday. Comments