I wrote this preview seven hours before tonight's ball game with no clue or any indication that it would be impacted immensely hours before first pitch. Now - a few hours before the game - the story has shifted from Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke to another plot. This afternoon the Phillies decided to call a press conference for no reason. The reason, it turned out to be, was to inform the media that long-time Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been fired and Ryne Sandberg will fill in as interim for the time being. After five NL East Pennants, two National League Pennants, and a World Series - it's safe to say that Charlie Manuel has concluded what is most likely the best managerial run in organization history. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Charlie for everything he's done for this team, for this city, for these people, and for me. Thank you, Charlie. I wish you nothing but the best of luck in the future.
At 14 games under .500 and 20 1/2 games out of first in the NL East, the Phillies have nothing left to lose - except the rest of this season's games. After taking one of three from the Braves and a day off the Phillies will kick off a ten-game home stand as they open up a three-game series with the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (70-50). Cliff Lee (10-5, 3.18 ERA) and Zack Greinke (10-3, 3.21 ERA) will start the game this evening.
Despite being the Phillies' best starter all season long, Cliff Lee has struggled lately. In his last five starts, Lee is 1-3 with a 5.64 ERA. Last time out, against the Nationals on Sunday, Lee was hit for three earned runs on seven hits over six innings in a no-decision outing. The left-hander struck out six and walked two as well. Lee will look to turn it around and give his team a good start to this 10-game home stand. On June 29th, Lee was hit for three earned runs on four hits through seven innings in a no-decision against Los Angeles. Lee owns a 2-1 record and a 1.40 ERA in 45 career innings against the Dodgers.
Zack Greinke has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball over the past two months. The right hander has won seven of his last ten starts and owns a 2.49 ERA in that stretch. Greinke tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rays to earn his 10th win of the season. Striking out seven and walking one, Greinke allowed six hits altogether. Back on June 27th, Greinke was hit 12 times for four earned over seven frames in a win against the Phillies. In his career, Greinke owns a 2-1 record with a 3.27 ERA against Philadelphia.
- Ryne Sandberg is making his managerial debut for the Phillies tonight.
- The Phillies have lost six of their last seven series and 13 of their last 14 road games.
- Watch out for The Beard: Brian Wilson will most likely join the Dodgers in Philadelphia this weekend.
- The Phillies put John Lannan on the DL this morning with left knee tendinosis.
Ryne Sandberg's Phillies lineup:
- Jimmy Rollins (SS)
- Michael Young (1B)
- Chase Utley (2B)
- Domonic Brown (LF)
- Darin Ruf (RF)
- Cody Asche (3B)
- John Mayberry Jr. (CF)
- Carlos Ruiz (C)
- Cliff Lee (P)
- Carl Crawford (LF)
- Yasiel Puig (CF)
- Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
- Hanley Ramirez (SS)
- Scott Van Slyke (RF)
- Juan Uribe (3B)
- A.J. Ellis (C)
- Mark Ellis (2B)
- Zack Greinke (P)
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Erik Seybold is a writer for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter.