DETROIT -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel wondered what else might go wrong when he learned Cliff Lee could not pitch on Saturday night because of neck stiffness.
Well, the game for starters.
The Tigers trounced Phillies left-hander Raul Valdes, who replaced Lee, in a 10-0 victory at Comerica Park, handing the Philadelphia its seventh consecutive loss to drop the club a season-high six games under .500 with just two games remaining before Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The team is out-manned in nearly every way imaginable. The Phillies are without first baseman Ryan Howard, left fielder Domonic Brown and center fielder Ben Revere, who are all on the disabled list. They simply don't have the players to replace them and it has been obvious, especially offensively. The Phillies have scored just 10 runs in their last seven losses, and just six runs in their last six.
"We definitely don't have too much out there," Manuel said. "I'd say we're kind of low. But I know we've got some guys in there that definitely have been here before. I don't think they'll continue staying low. I don't think they'll be low very long. I think we still got some guys that know how to win and everything. How much we can get going, I don't know."
Valdes vs. Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer might have been one of the most lopsided matchups in the big leagues this season.
Valdes had a 7.59 ERA in 11 relief appearances, although he went 3-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 12 starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. But Scherzer started the All-Star Game for the American League and entered the night 14-1 with a 3.14 ERA.
Baseball lifers love to say you never know what you will see at the ballpark, but this one pretty much followed script.
Scherzer dominated, allowing just one hit in six scoreless innings.
Valdes got hit hard against a potent lineup.
Miguel Cabrera hit a 1-1 fastball to left field for a solo home run in the first inning to make it 1-0. Valdes allowed consecutive singles to Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta to make it 2-0, when Matt Tuiasosopo crushed a three-run home run to center field to make it 5-0 in a blink of an eye.
It got worse.
Valdes allowed three more runs in the second and another run in the fourth to make it 9-0. Valdes yielded 12 hits, nine runs and struck out three in 3 2/3 innings to drop him to 1-1 with a 9.72 ERA. He became just the third starter in Phillies history to allow 12 or more hits and nine or more runs in less than four innings. Mike Mimbs allowed 12 hits and nine runs in three innings against the Braves in an 11-3 loss at Veterans Stadium on May 11, 1996. Jimmy Ring allowed 12 hits and 16 runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings in a 26-23 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 25, 1922.
"It was tough," Manuel said. "They come out and got on Valdes quick of course. He hung in there and battled and took it. I don't like to leave him out there like that. But he kind of had to. That's what it was. He's the guy we had, most of the guys we had in our 'pen, they throw one inning or something."
Manuel had seen enough and pulled veterans Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young before the bottom of the fifth inning. The Phillies' infield suddenly included Darin Ruf at first base, Kevin Frandsen at second base, John McDonald at shortstop and Michael Martinez at third base. Martinez became the first Phillies player to play center field and third base in a game since Cookie Rojas in 1964. The outfield included Steve Susdorf in left field, John Mayberry Jr. in center and Laynce Nix in right.
It looked like an afternoon at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. But it wasn't. It was July 27 with a season quickly slipping away.
Rollins and Utley have been with the Phillies the longest, so only they could put this tough stretch into the proper perspective.
Rollins didn't stop to talk.
"What is there to talk to talk about?" Utley wondered.
Is this one of the lowest points he can remember with the team?
"Tonight was obviously a tough game," Utley said, deflecting the question. "They came out swinging the bats well. We were facing a pretty good pitcher in Scherzer, so we had our work cut out for us. Obviously, it didn't work out. But in baseball you have to put today's game behind you and start over tomorrow. We really haven't swung the bats very well for five or six games. The bottom line is we need to score more runs."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.