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Game 84: Phils at Pirates, July 5, 2005

The Phils look to make it two straight, and guarantee at least a split of this four-game set, when Jon Lieber takes the mound tonight at Pittsburgh's PNC Field.

Lieber's performance is probably the key not only to tonight's game, but arguably to the Phils' entire second half.

The ace of April has long since given way to the homeriffic arsonist of May and June; only ex-Phillie Eric Milton has issued more souvenirs than Lieber's 22. Whether it's mechanics, command, or fitness, the former Cub 20-game winner is shaping up (no pun intended) to be Kevin Millwood's successor as a big disappointment at the front of the rotation.

And with all due respect to the Pirates, if he can't turn it around against a lineup with 14 homers from the #4 and #5 guys, one wonders just what it will take.

J. Lieber
K. Wells
8-8 Record 5-8
5.17 ERA 3.64
63 K 73
24 BB 53
22 HR 15

Phillies Pirates
SS J. Rollins LF M. Lawton
CF K. Lofton 3B F. Sanchez
RF B. Abreu LF J. Bay
LF P. Burrell CF R. Mackowiak
2B C. Utley 2B J. Castillo
1B R. Howard 1B D. Ward
3B D. Bell C. H. Cota
C T. Pratt SS J. Wilson
P J. Lieber P K. Wells