For only the third time this season, the Phillies are sitting on a four-game losing streak going into Wednesday night's game with the Washington Nationals. They have not lost five in a row the entire season.
The Phillies also have lost eight of 12, which is by far their worst extended stretch of baseball since the games started counting on April Fool's day.
Something else was also lost over the previous two days.
Because they were not at their best and the Phillies' patchwork offense offered little run support, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee both probably lost whatever chance they had at winning the Cy Young Award.
By allowing four runs in Monday night's loss to St. Louis, Halladay saw his ERA jump from 2.34 to 2.41 and was denied any opportunity he had to win 20 games for the second straight year and the fourth time in his career.
And in surrendering a season-high 11 hits in a 3-0 loss to Washington Tuesday night, Lee's record slipped to 16-8 while his ERA remained at 2.38.
Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles Tuesday night, Clayton Kershaw probably sealed his first Cy Young Award while simultaneously squashing the San Francisco Giants' flickering playoff hopes. Kershaw allowed just one run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings to outduel two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, 2-1.
Both Halladay and Lee have had a sensational first season together with the Phillies, but Kershaw, who is only 23 years old, has been a little bit better.
His win over the Giants was his 20th of the season and his 2.27 ERA is the best in baseball. His 0.99 WHIP -- walks and hits per innings pitched -- is the best in the N.L. and he also leads the league in strikeouts and fewest hits allowed. Kershaw is also finishing strong, allowing one run or fewer in seven of his last eight starts and two or fewer in all eight.
Halladay, of course, already has two Cy Young Awards -- one from each league -- and Lee won one with Cleveland in 2008.
Ask both of them if they'd run a Mack truck over their Cys in order to be fitted for a World Series ring and the answer would be the same.
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