It turns out that Cliff Lee is human after all. Since joining the Phillies, Lee has dominated by going deep into games and not allowing any more than two runs in each start. When he is handed the ball, a win is expected as he fills fans with confidence. Saturday was a different story.
The start of the game was delayed about 25 minutes due to rain. Once the game got underway, Chase Utley smacked his 28th home run of the year to put the Phillies on the board.
Entering the game, Lee hadn’t allowed a home run as a Phillie. His ERA was a minuscule 0.68. Those numbers quickly changed. Garrett Anderson’s three-run home run in the fourth inning put the Braves ahead. It was the first home run Lee allowed since July 21. Matt Diaz and Yunel Escobar also homered, adding to the lead. It was the first time since 2007 that Lee gave up multiple home runs in a game, let alone three.
In his shortest outing as a Phillie, Lee was finished after five innings. All six runs he allowed were earned. He gave up ten hits and struck out five. His ERA dramatically increased to 1.80 with Philadelphia, and 2.83 on the season.
If it was any indication, Lee gave up an unusual lead-off single to Diaz to open the game. Lee gets into trouble when he surrenders too many hits; that was the case tonight. The Braves did an excellent job of slowing down the quick worker by stepping out of the box and taking pitches.
Other than Utley’s homer, the Phillies offense was silenced by Lowe. Improving to 6-1 lifetime against the Phillies, the sinker-baller continues to have success against them. As a home run hitting team, the offense generally does not have success against most sinker ball pitchers.
The offense had many chances, but went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position. In addition, they left 12 men on base. Even when they were trailing 9-1, they had a perfect opportunity with the bases loaded any nobody out. Whatever the case may be, this team can not produce runs when runners are past first base. They’re heavily relying on the long ball.
The Braves added a few more runs off the bullpen, but the rain came down in buckets during the eighth inning to force another delay. As a swimming pool formed in the outfield, the decision was finally made to call the game. The 9-1 loss puts the Braves seven games behind the Phillies in the National League East.