Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lee Dominates in Phillies Debut

The Phillies wanted an ace and, after last night's start, it's clear they got him. Cliff Lee was brilliant in his first start as a Phillie, pitching a complete game against the Giants while allowing just one run and four hits.

Lee struck out Randy Winn for his first out with his new team, and it got better from there as he carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. He looked sharp the entire night, both on the mound and at the plate. Entering the game batting a career 2-for-32, Lee doubled his career hit total with a pair of hits. That included his first career extra-base hit and run scored, as Lee doubled to lead off the top of the 8th, then scored on a sacrifice fly from, rather fittingly, Ben Francisco.

For a while it looked like the Phillies were content to sit around and watch their new ace perform, without providing much offensive help. Through six innings, the only run scored by either team came by way of a Jayson Werth solo homer. However, the Phillies tacked on some insurance in the seventh. Rollins and Utley walked and Howard was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Ibanez then drew a walk and Werth followed with a single to center that scored two runs. That put the Phillies up 4-0. Lee's run in the eighth made it 5-0 and, though the Giants would score on a sac fly in the bottom of that inning, the outcome of the game was never in doubt.

Coming into the game there were questions regarding whether this trade would be enough to put the Phillies over the top as favorites to win a second straight NL pennant. Now the only question that remains is "Roy who?"

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