News and Notes: The Phillies

LHP Eric Milton lost a no-hitter in the top of the ninth on Sunday (July 25) when CF Doug Glanville, a defensive replacement, broke back on a blooper by C Michael Barrett of the Cubs and then had the ball drop in front of him.

NOTES, QUOTES

General manager Ed Wade and a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer got into a shouting match before the game Sunday (July 25). Wade first became angry when asked about reports that pitching coach Joe Kerrigan could be fired before the end of the season and then became increasingly irritated when pressed on the status of trade talks as the July 31 deadline approaches.

--LHP Billy Wagner's sore shoulder was supposed to sideline him through the weekend series against the Cubs that ended Sunday (July 25), but there appears to be a possibility the closer might have to go on the disabled list.

--LHP Billy Wagner, who has the right to demand a trade at the end of the season, hinted he wants to see what kind of moves are made for the stretch drive before deciding what to do. "There are a lot of positives here. There are a lot of reasons not to leave," he said. "But do you want to win? You don't want to back yourself into a hole where you're not sure the team is dedicated."

--RHP Brian Powell hadn't pitched since July 10 through Sunday (July 25) despite allowing only one run in his last 12 1/3 innings.

--General manager Ed Wade continues to insist he isn't even thinking about promoting top prospect RHP Gavin Floyd from Double-A Reading. "He still needs to work on command of his breaking ball and his fastball. We want to see better command before he makes the jump to the next level, let alone two levels," he said.

--1B Jim Thome returned to the lineup Saturday (July 24) after sitting out one game following a cortisone shot for tendinitis in his right index finger.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Consecutive sellouts at Citizens Bank Park through Sunday (July 25), after which the team embarked on a 13-game road trip. It was also the 31st standing room only crowd of the season for the Phillies.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Call me what you want. Call me the ace, call me overpaid. I don't care. All I worry about is getting the ball every fifth day and giving my team a good chance to win." -- RHP Kevin Millwood, after beating the Marlins on July 21, on criticism he's received this season.

ROSTER REPORT

PITCHING TRENDS:
The bullpen had a 2.17 earned run average in its previous 21 games going into play Monday (July 26). Overall, the relievers had a 3.59 ERA for the season, second-lowest in the National League. The concern, though, is that the pen has also been called on for 321 innings, second most in the NL.

PITCHERS TO WATCH:
--LHP Eric Milton took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Cubs on Sunday (July 25) and might have pitched his way into the record books except that Michael Barrett led off the ninth with a blooper that CF Doug Glanville first broke back on. Chicago ended up tying the game. Milton doesn't have a decision in his last three starts despite having a 2.91 earned run average in those games.

--RHP Ryan Madson leads National League rookie pitchers with seven wins despite making only one start. He also had a 21-inning scoreless streak that ended on Friday (July 23). It's the third-longest streak by a Phillies' rookie in history, trailing only Grover Cleveland Alexander (41 2/3 in 1911) and George McQuillan (25 innings in 1907).

--RHP Kevin Millwood had a 5.15 earned run average at the All-Star break. But he went home and cleared his head and came back to go 2-0, 1.29 in his first two starts of the second half.

LINEUP LOWDOWN: Going into play Monday (July 26), the Phillies had scored 476 runs since April 15. That's second most in the National League behind only the Rockies. Even including their slow start (during which they went 1-6 while averaging 2.3 runs per game), the Phillies have scored 492 times, the fourth-highest total in the league.

POSITION PLAYERS TO WATCH:
--2B Chase Utley may not be a Gold Glove candidate, but how long can the Phillies keep his bat out of the lineup? The former No. 1 draft choice is 16-for-40 (.400) in his last 17 games through Sunday (July 25) with five homers and 13 RBIs.

--SS Jimmy Rollins is hot again at the top of the order, going 16-for-44 (.364) in his last 10 games.

--LF Pat Burrell was batting .313 with 10 homers and 42 runs batted in on June 1. Since then, through Sunday (July 25) he went 36-for-162 (.222) with six homers and 22 RBIs.

MEDICAL WATCH: LHP Billy Wagner, who had a cortisone shot to relieve shoulder soreness, was originally scheduled to be available again on Monday (July 26) at Florida. However, as of Sunday (July 25) there was growing concern that Wagner might have to go on the disabled list. RHP Vicente Padilla, on the disabled list because of elbow tendinitis, has begun to throw off the mound. If he has no further setbacks, he's tentatively scheduled to return to the rotation Aug. 11 against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. RHP Amaury Telemaco is on the disabled list because of shoulder tendinitis and elbow tenderness. He's expected to begin a rehab assignment on July 26 and could be activated as early as Aug. 1.

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