There is a lot of speculation about Cliff Lee's future, but one thing is for sure: He will not be on the mound Saturday in Detroit.
Lee was scratched from his scheduled start with a stiff neck, the Phillies announced during Friday's series-opening loss. Raul Valdes, who has a 7.59 ERA in 11 Major League appearances out of the bullpen this season, will start in his place.
With the non-waiver Trade Deadline on Wednesday and the Phillies sliding with six-straight losses, Lee's name has become the subject of some rumors. The left-handed All-Star is 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 20 starts.
Now, the Phillies will have to hope Valdes can replicate the form he showed as a starter with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, not a reliever in the bigs. The lefy has a 3.11 ERA in 12 starts for the IronPigs.
But he'll need more offense, as the Phillies have scored only 10 runs during their six-game slide. They'll have a challenge to snap out of it, as Max Scherzer will get the nod for the Tigers. Scherzer started the All-Star Game for the American League and has 157 strikeouts in 20 starts. The right-hander started his second half with eight innings of two-run ball Monday against the White Sox.
He didn't walk any batters in that start and has a 5-1 strikeout to walk ratio this season -- the sixth-best mark in baseball.
"When you look at the swings and misses, obviously if you're able to generate strikeouts and minimize walks, that's a huge recipe for success," Scherzer said. "Those are results of attacking hitters with four pitches. The process is using four pitches. Analyzing results is looking at the strikeout-to-walk rate."
Tigers: Cabrera takes BP, but sits Friday
Miguel Cabrera took batting practice Friday, but was held out of the lineup for the fourth straight game.
The slugger has not played since Monday, when he left a game against the White Sox with a sore left hip flexor.
"He's made real good improvement," Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Friday. "Obviously, we held him out [Friday] to give him a chance to do some activity. He's feeling a lot better, but he still feels he needs another day or so."
Cabrera leads the Majors with a .358 batting average, and he also has 31 homers, 96 RBIs and a 1.120 OPS.
Phillies: Ruf getting time in left field
With left fielder Domonic Brown on the seven-day disabled list and center fielder Ben Revere still nursing a broken bone in his right foot, the Phillies need depth in their outfield.
Fortunately for manager Charlie Manuel, Darin Ruf can provide that.
Ruf was called up to play first base when Ryan Howard landed on the DL with a knee injury, but has also spent some time during his career in left field. And that's where he was Friday.
The Phillies have an extra bat in their lineup this weekend since they are in Detroit's AL park, and Brown, who sustained concussion-like symptoms after diving for a fly ball against the Cardinals, is not eligible to return until next Tuesday.
Ruf, who is hitting .288 since being called up July 6, went 1-for-4 in the opener.
• Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter missed Friday's game with a sore Achilles.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.