Coming off an ugly start, Cliff Lee mowed ‘em down last night, throwing seven shutout innings to pace the Phils to a 3-1 win against the Dodgers. Lee struck out ten in the game and has now registered double-digit strikeouts in six of his 13 starts.
Lee is striking out about 10.3 batters per nine innings this year, which is a huge jump from his career mark of 7.1. In 2008, he won the Cy Young in the American League and struck out 6.9 batters per nine for the Indians.
Led by Lee and his NL-high 100 strikeouts, the Phils lead the league in inducing whiffs. Halladay is second with 97 and Hamels fifth with 82.
The Phillies are 36-24 on the year after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 last night.
Lee got the start for the Phillies and went seven shutout innings, allowing seven hits and a walk. All seven of the hits were singles and he struck out ten.
Jamey Carroll was the first batter of the game and he reached on an infield single. Aaron Miles followed that with a single into center that moved Carroll up to second. Marcus Thames followed and hit a double-play ball to second, which left the Dodgers with two down and Carroll on third. Lee struck Matt Kemp out looking 2-2 to leave Carroll at third.
He struck Juan Uribe out swinging for the first out in the second and got Casey Blake on a fly ball to center behind him for the second. Jerry Sands drew a two-out walk, but Lee got Rod Barajas on a fly ball to right for the third out.
The pitcher Ted Lilly grounded to third to start the third. Carroll singled to center behind him before Lee got Miles swinging for the second out. Thames flew to right to leave Carroll at first.
Lee started the fourth with a 2-0 lead. Uribe singled to left with one out, but Lee struck out Blake and Sands, both looking, behind him.
Carroll singled on a ball hit out in front of the plate with two outs in the fifth. Miles moved him to second with a single into center, but Lee struck Thames out swinging to leave both men stranded.
He struck out the side in the sixth, getting Kemp and Uribe swinging and Blake looking. Blake didn’t care for the call and was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Sands smashed a ball back up the middle to start the seventh, but Lee, seemingly on purpose, put his body in front of the ball. It hit off him hard, but Lee picked it up and threw to first for the first out. Barajas popped to Polanco for the second out and lefty Tony Gwynn hit for the pitcher Lee. Gwynn singled back up the middle, bringing Carroll to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Gwynn was running on the 3-2 pitch as Carroll grounded to short. Valdez made a nice play, charging the ball and throwing to first to set the Dodgers down.
Bastardo threw a 1-2-3 eighth. He’s been charged with a run in just three of his 25 appearances on the year. He’s walked 12 in 23 innings, which is too many, but allowed just 11 hits.
Madson started the ninth with the Phils up 3-0. Juan Uribe led off and homered to right and Russ Hodges screamed “The Giants win the pennant” over and over again till we all threw up. Except that didn’t really happen. This time Uribe just blooped a single to right. Uber-prospect Dee Gordon ran for Uribe at first, making his major league debut, and the game was delayed briefly so that a child-labor investigation could be conducted to determine if it was okay or not for the Dodgers to put someone who looks like they’re twelve in the game. Turns out Gordon just turned 23, so play was allowed to resume. James Loney, who entered the game at first after Blake was ejected after the sixth, was next and he lined a single to center. Gordon moved up to third, doing something that would normally be described as running, but in this case looked a lot faster. Wow. It put men on first and third with nobody out for Sands and lefty Andre Ethier hit for the righty Sands. Ethier sliced an oddly spinning line drive that Valdez stopped on a short-hop. He picked it up and tossed to second to force Loney for the first out as Gordon scored, cutting the lead to 3-1. Madson struck Barajas out swinging 2-2 for the second out and switch-hitter Dioner Navarro hit for the pitcher Mike MacDougal. Madson struck him out swinging 1-2 to end the game.
I know Lee threw seven shutout innings and struck out ten and whatnot, but watching Gordon go first to third might have been the highlight of the game. He’s strong like bull. Only with running and not being strong and without the bull.
Valdez also made a really nice play on the spinning line drive hit by Ethier, which helped keep the inning under control.
Madson and Bastardo have both pitched back-to-back days, with Madson pitching Sunday in a non-save situation with a 7-3 lead. Madson has a 6.43 ERA and a 1.43 ratio over his last seven appearances, having allowed five runs in seven innings. He threw 19 pitches in the game. Bastardo threw 14.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Ted Lilly went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ruiz (7) Brown (8) Valdez. With Rollins out with a bruised knee, Valdez plays short and Victorino leads off. Francisco plays left with Ibanez on the bench against the lefty. Brown plays right against the lefty, making his first start of the year against a southpaw, but continues to hit seventh with Francisco and Ruiz back-to-back righties behind Howard.
Victorino was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the first, but the Phils went in order behind him.
The Phils went in order in the second.
Valdez started the third with a double to left and Lee bunted him to third with the first out. Victorino drew a walk, putting men on first and third for Polanco. Polanco went down and got a low 0-1 pitch, hitting a soft liner into center that scored Valdez (1-0) and moved Victorino to second. Utley flew to center for the second out, but Howard ripped a ball into right for a single, scoring Victorino to make it 2-0 and moving Polanco to third. Francisco struck out looking to leave both men stranded.
Brown singled with one out in the fourth. Valdez struck out behind him and Lee flew to left.
Victorino, Polanco and Utley went in order in the fifth.
Ruiz singled to center with two outs in the sixth, but Brown grounded out to first for the third out.
Valdez grounded to short to start the seventh. With righty Blake Hawksworth on the mound for the Dodgers, Ibanez hit for Lee and grounded to second for the second out. Victorino flew to left for the third out.
Utley walked with one out in the eighth. Howard struck out behind him for the second out before Francisco moved him to second with another walk. Ruiz was next and hit a 2-2 pitch off the wall in left. Utley scored, putting the Phils up 3-0, and Francisco moved up to third. Brown grounded to second to leave the runners stranded.
Victorino was 0-for-2 with a walk. He’s 3-for-16 with three walks since returning from the DL.
Polanco 1-for-4 with an RBI. He didn’t walk last night, but he’s on pace to walk 54 times this season, which would be a career high. He has had two seasons when he on-based better than .380 — in 2005 he on-based .383 but walked just 33 times and in 2007 he on-based .388 but walked just 37 times. He’s on-basing .365 this season.
Utley was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. He’s hitting .224 with a .306 slugging percentage in his first 57 plate appearances.
Howard 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Francisco 0-for-3 with a walk. I like the idea of letting him play against lefties, but he’s hitting 182/297/327 against left-handed pitching for the year.
Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He’s just 2-for-15 so far in June.
Brown was 1-for-4. 2-for-8 with a double against lefties on the season.
Valdez 1-for-3 with a double. He’s 3-for-his-last-9 with two walks, one of which was intentional.
Oswalt (3-3, 2.70) starts tonight against righty Rubby De La Rosa (1-0, 1.80). The 22-year-old De La Rosa will be making his first career start in place of the recently DL’ed Jon Garland. De La Rosa has made three relief appearances for the Dodgers, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out five in five innings. Oswalt didn’t seem thrilled about being pulled after five innings and 79 pitches in his last start. He has allowed more than two runs in a start just once in his nine starts this season.
The Phillies took Larry Greene, an 18-year-old corner outfielder from Georgia who hits left-handed, with the 39th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.