Phillies' lack of focus holding them back
It's not about shaking up the lineup at this point. It's about shaking themselves up. Ultimately, that needs to start with the two guys at the top of the order, Rollins and Utley. Rollins missed 54 games this season with a calf injury, but now is the time for him to play like the MVP he was in 2007. If he leads off and sets the right tone, and Utley can find his groove, the hits will start coming in bunches. After all, a couple of guys named Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez are hitting behind them and dying to drive in runs. If the Phillies insist on playing to the level of their competition, then they should be just fine this weekend, since they play a first-place team in the San Diego Padres. But if they want to prove they have what it takes to be that team everyone was talking about at the beginning of the season, they can't afford to lose to teams they're just flat-out better than.
Eduardo Perez is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."
Touch 'Em All
Who went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Hanley Ramirez, FLA||17||NYM||Top 4: 1-0, 0 Outs. 1 on.||Niese|
|Albert Pujols, STL||34||WAS||Top 4: 0-1, 0 Outs. None on.||Zimmermann|
|Prince Fielder, MIL||27||LAD||Bot 4: 0-0, 1 Out. None on.||Monasterios|
|David Wright, NYM||21||FLA||Bot 1: 2-2, 2 Outs. 1 on.||Sanchez|
|Carlos Lee, HOU||18||PHI||Top 3: 3-2, 1 Out. None on.||Kendrick|
Friday's Best Matchups
Red Sox at Rays, 7:05 p.m. ET
A big weekend set for the Red Sox, who head into the series in third place in the AL East and 3½ back of the Rays. Jon Lester was lit up in his most recent start, giving up eight hits, nine runs, three walks and two homers in a two-inning outing. David Price beat Boston last month in his only appearance against the Red Sox this season.
Phillies at Padres, 10:05 p.m. ET
After being roughed up in his first start with the Phillies, Roy Oswalt is 3-0 over his past four starts. In two of his appearances, he tossed seven shutout innings. The Padres' Mat Latos hasn't given up more than two runs in an outing since June 4, a stretch of 12 starts.
Diamondbacks at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET
Will Tim Lincecum calm the nerves of those worried about him with a good outing against Arizona? The back-to-back Cy Young winner has lost each of his past four starts and has an 8.38 ERA in August. The Diamondbacks' Barry Enright is 3-0 over his past seven starts.
BASEBALL TONIGHT ON THE AIR
|10 p.m. ET on ESPN|
Host: Steve Berthiaume|
Analysts: Buster Olney, Doug Glanville, Eduardo Perez
|12 a.m. ET on ESPN|
Host: Steve Berthiaume|
Analysts: Doug Glanville
WEB GEMS LEADERBOARD
THURSDAY'S BEST AND WORST
BESTIan Kennedy, RHP, Diamondbacks
Kennedy posted his first double-digit strikeout game of the season, striking out 12 in seven shutout, one-hit innings against the Padres. The Diamondbacks are now 5-1 in Kennedy's past six starts.
WORSTCliff Lee, LHP, Rangers
There has been plenty of concern about Tim Lincecum in the wake of four consecutive losses. Will there be the same worry about Lee, who has lost three in a row and been hit hard in all of them? He lasted only 5 2/3 innings in a 6-4 loss against the Twins in the latest defeat, allowing seven hits and five runs. It marked his third consecutive start in which he's given up at least five runs.