We didn’t learn anything new last night, but seeing Cliff Lee pitch lights out one more time was more than enough for Phillie fans looking for signs of life. Lee was fantastic, allowing two singles over eight shutout innings, and Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth as the Phils topped Atlanta 2-0.
The pitching was outstanding last night, but the Phils have scored four runs over their last two games. More would be better, especially if 60% of the rotation is going to be Kendrick, Lannan and a version of Roy Halladay who can’t get people out. Michael Young and Ryan Howard were quiet in the opening set, combining to go 2-for-21 out of the four and five spots in the order.
The Phillies are 1-2 on the year after beating the Atlanta Braves 2-0 last night. The Braves take the series two games to one.
Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing two singles, no walks and striking out eight.
He set the Braves down in order in the bottom of the first.
He started the second up 2-0 and struck out Freddie Freeman and BJ Upton to start the frame before Dan Uggla singled to left. Chris Johnson grounded to first to end the inning.
Lee struck out Gerald Laird and pitcher Kris Medlen in 1-2-3 third.
Justin Upton singled to left with one out in the fourth. Lee got Freeman to ground into a double-play behind Upton.
Freeman 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a GDP through two at-bats after hammering the Phils in games one and two of the set.
Lee struck out Uggla in a 1-2-3 fifth.
Laird led off the sixth and reached on an error by Utley, but Lee got the next three. Righty Reed Johnson hit for the pitcher Cory Gearrin and flew to center for the first out.
Lee struck out both Uptons in a 1-2-3 seventh. Freeman absolutely crushed a ball in-between, but Nix took it on the warning track for the second out.
Lee got a little help from the weather on a cold night in Atlanta on Freeman’s ball. It was well struck.
Lee needed just eight pitches to set Uggla, Johnson and Laird down in order in the eighth.
Papelbon started the ninth with a 2-0 lead. Switch-hitter Ramiro Pena hit for the pitcher Anthony Varvaro and Palelbon struck him out swinging for the first out. Simmons grounded to Utley for the second out and Papelbon got Heyward swinging at a ball way outside to end the game.
Second appearance of the year for Papelbon after allowing two runs in an inning in game two of the set. He threw 11 pitches in the game and has pitched for two days in a row.
The season is only three days old, but last night was the first game of the three in which the pen has been non-terrible. The bullpen threw to a 6.23 ERA in the set and walked five in 8 2/3 innings.
The Phillie lineup against righty Kris Medlen went (1) Revere (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Young (6) Brown (7) Nix (8) Kratz. Nix in right against the lefty with Mayberry on the bench. Manuel did it the other way with righty Tim Hudson on the mound for Atlanta in game one of the series. Mayberry on the bench against a righty appeals a lot, though.
Rollins singled to center with one out in the top of the first. Utley flew out to left before Howard moved Rollins up to second with a single. Rollins stole third on a soft throw back to the mound by Laird before Young walked to load the bases for Brown. Brown grounded to second to leave them loaded.
Howard’s single was a ground ball to where the shortstop would be if the Braves weren’t in their Howard shift.
Nix started the second with a single and moved to third when Kratz followed with a double to left. Lee was next and walked to load the bases for Revere. Revere grounded to short with Lee forced at second for the first out. Nix scored and the Phils led 1-0 with one out and runners on the corner. Revere quickly stole second and Rollins went on to walk, loading the bases for Utley. Utley flew to right, deep enough for Kratz to tag and score from third, putting the Phils up 2-0. Howard lined to Simmons to end the frame.
Glad to see Kratz deliver the double after an awful night at the plate in game two.
Brown singled with one out in the third, but Nix and Kratz went down behind him. Nix hit his ball well, but Heyward took it in right for the second out.
Rollins doubled to right with two outs in the fourth and Utley drew a walk behind him. It put men on first and second for Howard, but Howard grounded out to Uggla in shallow right field to set the Phillies down.
Young and Nix struck out as the Phils went in order in the fifth. Brown smoked a line drive, but Uggla handled it for the second out.
Righty Cory Gearrin set the Phillies down in order in the sixth. Revere hit a ball well into the gap in right-center, but Heyward made a diving catch to take extra-bases away from him for the third out.
Righty Jordan Walden started the seventh. He got Rollins on a fly ball to left for the first out before Utley singled to left. Howard was next and he hammered a ball to center, but BJ Upton took it at the wall after a long run for the second out. Young flew to BJ Upton in right-center to set the Phils down.
Howard hit the ball really well. Not quite well enough on a cold night (41 degrees) in Atlanta.
Anthony Varvaro started the eighth for Atlanta and set Brown, Nix and Kratz down in order.
Varvaro was back for the ninth. Galvis hit for Lee and grounded out to start the inning. Revere singled into center, but was doubled off of first to set the Phillies down when Rollins lined to Uggla.
Revere was 1-for-5 with a stolen base in the game. 3-for-14 with a walk and two steals in the series. 0-for-4 against lefties. I don’t think he’s going to lead off against lefties for too long — not because he’s 0-for-4 against them, but because leading him off against lefties is a poor idea.
Rollins 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and a stolen base in the game. 5-for-14 with a walk, two doubles and two stolen bases in the set.
Utley 1-for-2 with a walk, an error and an RBI. 5-for-11 with a double, a triple, a home run and a walk in the series. He has six RBI for the year — the rest of the team has three (Kratz 1, Revere 1, Howard 1).
Howard was 1-for-4 and left five men on base. He got chances to hit with runners on base in the second, fourth and seventh. Pretty bad start to the season for Howard, he was 1-for-12 with a walk and an RBI. Just three strikeouts, but one came in game one with one out and runners on second and third.
Young 0-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-9 with three walks in the series. He’s obviously not going to walk in 25% of his plate appearances, but I would be thrilled to see him up his walk rate this season. Looked a little shaky defensively at third in game one of the series, but was largely unnoticed defensively after that, which is a good sign.
Brown 1-for-4 with a single and left three men on base. 4-for-11 with four singles and a walk in the series. No strikeouts yet, but no extra-base hits either. He went 2-for-4 in his chances against lefties in the series.
Nix 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. 2-for-6 in the series. Mayberry took over for Nix defensively in right in the bottom of the eighth, but did not have an at-bat in the game. He was 2-for-7 with a double and a walk in the series. No quite sure I understand using Mayberry as a defensive replacement for Nix — Nix is a pretty good defensive outfielder and there’s not a lot of data on Mayberry in right (although his numbers are great in limited time).
Kratz 1-for-4 with a double, which was nice to see after a miserable day at the plate in game two of the set. 2-for-12 with a double and an RBI in the series. Curious comments from Halladay after game two in the set suggesting that he and Kratz may not have been on the same page should be monitored carefully. Quintero is going to get a chance to start a game soon anyway, given that the Phillies play in each of the next six days. Sunday afternoon against the Royals seems likely.
Kendrick gets the start late this afternoon in the home opener against the Royals and righty Wade Davis. Kendrick finished 2012 on a major roll pitching out of the rotation. He threw to a 3.20 ERA over 12 starts to end the year. Davis will be making his first start since 2011 after 54 appearances for the Rays last year, all in relief. He didn’t allow a home run to any of the 130 left-handed batters he faced in 2012 while throwing to a 2.43 ERA with a 1.09 ratio.