Francisco Liriano becomes 30th ever to fan 15 and lose

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Francisco Liriano whiffed a career-high 15 batters on Friday night, but he still took a loss in a 6-3 game after giving up four runs — three earned — in eight innings against the A’s.

Jonny Gomes hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to account for all of the scoring off Liriano. It was one of just four hits he allowed.

Liriano joins Jake Peavy and Cliff Lee as the only active pitchers to have a 15-strikeout game turn into a loss. It happened to Peavy, then with San Diego, when he gave up two runs in seven innings against the Braves on May 22, 2006. Lee did it last year, allowing three runs in seven innings in a 5-0 loss to the Braves. Both Peavy and Lee actually fanned 16 in their losses.

Liriano is in really good company, though. The feat had been performed only seven other times since 1990: three times by Randy Johnson, once by Pedro Martinez, once by Curt Schilling and once by John Smoltz. And once by Sterling Hitchcock, but we’ll gloss over that one.

The Phillies plan to spend money and “maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”

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In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.

“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.

Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.

How novel.