Wherever it is, here’s hoping he renews for another couple of months.
The Phils got more outstanding starting pitching last night as Cliff Lee threw 8 2/3 shutout innings and the Phils topped the Reds 3-0. For Lee it ends an August in which he allowed two runs in 39 2/3 innings over five starts.
In June, Lee allowed a run over 42 innings in five starts. In June and August combined, Lee threw to an 0.33 ERA with an 0.73 ratio and struck out 68 in 81 2/3 innings. In the months of the season other than June or August, Lee has thrown to a 4.22 ERA with a 1.28 ratio and struck out 130 in 113 innings.
In the first three games of the four-game set, the Phils have now outscored the Reds 15-2. The starting pitchers for the Phils have thrown 21 2/3 scoreless innings in the set, allowing ten hits and three walks while striking out 23. By runs scored per game, the Reds have the second-best offense in the NL behind St Louis.
The Phillies are 86-46 on the year after beating the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 last night. They are 40 games over .500 for the first time since 1977 and in first place in the NL East, 7 1/2 games ahead of the Braves.
Lee started the game for the Phillies and went 8 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing six hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out seven.
Up 1-0, he set the Reds down in order in the bottom of the first. He got Brandon Phillips on a line drive to right, Dave Sappelt on a line drive to left and Joey Votto on a ground ball to second.
Both Phillips and Sappelt hit the ball well against Lee in the first, but both into outs.
In the second he got Jay Bruce to ground to first, Miguel Cairo swinging and Drew Stubbs swinging.
Ramon Hernandez stated the third with a single to right. Paul Janish struck out swinging for the first out before the pitcher Dontrelle Willis bunted Hernandez to second with the second. Phillips grounded to short for the third out.
Sappelt reached on an infield single to start the fourth, but was thrown out trying to steal second as Lee struck out Votto. Bruce singled to right before Cairo flew to right to end the inning.
Stubbs reached on an infield single to start the fifth. Hernandez was next and hit a ball to the right of Valdez at short. Valdez made a nice play, fielding in the hole and throwing to second to force Stubbs. Utley sailed his throw to first to try to double-up Hernandez, but it was backed up nicely by Ruiz. Ruiz threw to second and Hernandez was tagged out to complete the double-play. Janish flew to left for the third out.
Up 2-0, Lee set the Reds down in order in the sixth.
He started the seventh up 3-0 and struck out Bruce and Cairo as he set the Reds down in order.
Stubbs singled to left to start the eighth, but Lee got Hernandez on a fly ball to center for the first out and Janish on a fly ball to right for the second. Righty Todd Frazier hit for the pitcher Jose Arredondo and Lee struck him out looking 2-2 to end the inning.
Lee got the first two to start the ninth before Votto doubled to center. Bruce was next and Lee walked him on a 3-2 pitch, bringing the righty Cairo to the plate as the tying run. Lee hit Cairo with an 0-2 pitch that Cairo didn’t try real hard to get out of the way of, loading the bases for the Reds. Madson took over for Lee and lefty Yonder Alonso hit for the righty Stubbs. Madson got Alonso to pop to Polanco in foul territory on a 1-1 pitch to end the game.
After getting Alonso to end last night’s game, lefties are hitting 213/289/267 against Madson for the year, which is worse than the 255/303/324 line for righties.
Madson threw three pitches in the game. Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Dontrelle Willis went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Mayberry starts in left with the lefty on the mound. Ibanez on the bench after going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer the night before. Valdez at short with Rollins on the DL.
Victorino and Polanco walked back-to-back to start the game. Utley hit a ground ball to second with Polanco forced at second for the first out and Victorino moving up to third. Howard hit a ball that Votto handled at first, throwing to second where Utley was forced for the second out as Victorino scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Pence flew to center to leave Howard at first.
Good no strikeout for Howard to bring Victorino home from third with one out.
Ruiz and Valdez singled back-to-back with one out in the second, putting runners on first and second for Lee. Lee bunted, Willis fielded and threw to third, where Ruiz was out but called safe. Victorino popped to Phillips near the first base line for the second out. Polanco grounded back to the pitcher.
No run for the Phils after getting an extra out and loading the bases with one out.
Pence and Mayberry walked back-to-back with two outs in the third. Ruiz flew to right to leave both runners stranded.
The Phils went in order in the fourth.
Lee grounded to second for the second out and didn’t run it out. He took a couple of steps towards first and waved his hand at the ball as Phillips fielded and threw to first.
Willis struck out Polanco, Utley and Howard in the fifth.
Pence led off the sixth and hit a 2-1 pitch out to center, putting the Phils up 2-0. Mayberry struck out behind him before Ruiz singled into center. Valdez grounded to third with Ruiz forced at second for the second out and took second on a wild
Victorino started the seventh with a walk and moved to third when Polanco followed with a single to center. Utley was next and hit a ground ball to short with Polanco forced at second for the first out and Victorino scoring to put the Phils up 3-0. Utley was running when Howard his a soft ground ball to short. Janish had moved to cover second and made a nice play, coming back to get the ball and then throwing to first to get Howard for the second out. It brought Pence to the plate with Utley at second and two. Righty Jose Arredondo came in to pitch to Pence and got him on a fly ball to left to set the Phillies down.
Mayberry and Ruiz singled back-to-back to start the eighth, putting men on first and second for Valdez. Valdez hit into a double-play, which left Mayberry at third with two down. Lee grounded to short for the third out.
Polanco singled with one out in the ninth, but Utley and Howard both flew out behind him.
Victorino was 0-for-3 with two walks in the game. He’s 3-for-his-last-21.
Polanco 2-for-4. He’s 2-for-his-last-13.
Utley 0-for-5 with an RBI and four men left on base. 7-for-his-last-35.
Howard 0-for-5 with an RBI. 5-for-his-last-34 with 14 strikeouts.
Pence 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run. He has homered in two straight games and seven times in his last 95 plate appearances. He’s slugging .573 in his 119 plate appearances with the Phils. He hit 340/413/596 in August.
Mayberry was 1-for-3 with a walk. He goes 2-for-15 to end the month, but hit 296/356/685 in 59 plate appearances in August.
Ruiz was 3-for-4. 304/383/412 in his last 232 plate appearances.
Valdez 1-for-4. Since August 22, when Rollins went on the DL, Valdez has hit 316/333/579 in 21 plate appearances (6-for-19 with a walk, two doubles and a home run).
Worley (9-1, 2.65) faces righty Mike Leake (11-8, 4.04) this afternoon. Leake threw to a 5.70 ERA in his first nine appearances of the year, which included three relief outings. Since then he’s made 17 starts in which he’s thrown to a 3.49 ERA with a 1.18 ratio. The Phillies have gone 14-2 in the games that Worley has started this season — if that’s not the biggest surprise of the year it makes the photo. The Phils have won 12 straight games that Worley has started. Worley has been charged with more than one run in just four of those 12 and more than two runs in two of the 12.
Joe Blanton is expected to pitch for Lakewood on Friday.