Lee Sensational in Shutout of Lowly Marlins

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, June 16, 2011 04:45 PM | Comments: 14
2011 Game Recaps, Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Richie Ashburn Award: Cliff Lee

—Citizens Bank Park

(PHOTO: Philly.com)

That’s the Cliff Lee the Phillies paid for and the Cliff Lee Phillies fans pay to see. The left-hander toyed with the free-swinging Marlins – a term I may have overused this week; but it’s true – by fanning four and allowing just two hits and two walks in the Phillies 3-0 win.

Lee’s seventh career complete game shutout, and second this year, sealed a four-game sweep of a Florida club that has now lost 18 of their last 21 games. With a no-hit bid into the fifth inning, the Marlins never really stood a chance as Lee used his superior location to induce several easy ground outs. Mike Stanton broke the hitless streak at 14 batter, singling with two outs in the fifth.

In all, Florida tallied 12 ground ball outs and did not have a runner touch second base all day.

In the early going, the Phillies offense allowed Marlins starter Javier Vazquez off the hook by wasting a first-inning, bases-loaded threat. Lee took matters into his own hands by doubling off the wall in right-center field, scoring Michael Martinez from first to make it 1-0. Ryan Howard helped the cause with his 15th home run of the season in the fifth.

Howard’s homer got me a little giddy. On the surface it looked like just a run of the mill blast, but Howard kept his hands back beautifully, just like the Big Brown of old. Whenever he gets into a zone at the plate, you’ll see him keeping his hands back in the zone, punching balls to the opposite-field.

In the sixth inning, the Phils tacked on another thanks to Jimmy Rollins. He looped a double to right field that Mike Stanton dove for, but bobbled, allowing J-Roll to take second. That sent home Domonic Brown, giving the Philies a 3-0 lead, which felt like 10-0 with Lee pitching.

It could have been plenty more for a Phillies offense that has scored 46 runs during a seven-game winning streak. They left eight men on base, seven of them while Vazquez was in the game. Two runs over five innings is about as good as it can get for Vazquez at this point. He was lucky to leave the game down just two.

The standings show the Phillies 5 1/2 games up on the Atlanta Braves after the victory with a 44-26 record. For all the complaining the fanbase does (not all of you, I know), honing in on the wrinkles this lineup has, they are 18 games over .500 and attempting to run away with the division early on. The pitching staff is carrying them, allowing the offense to work out the kinks, which they are doing.

Chase Utley is hitting, Howard has found some power, Rollins and Shane Victorino are setting the table nicely, and the bottom of the order is chipping in at times. What more can you ask for?

A power right-handed bat, you say? Buster Olney of ESPN.com says the Phillies are doing their homework on some high-priced hitters that they could seek out at the deadline.

For now, the offense is providing plenty. And Cliff Lee is doing the same, allowing us to remember why the Phillies put all that cash in his pocket.



-J.C. Romero was designated for assignment, paving the way for Vance Worley to return to the team. Worley will start on Saturday in Seattle. Romero said after the game that “Business is business, man. I have nothing else to say about it.”

Sounds like he was slightly bothereed by the move, although he says he understands it. But really the writing was on the wall here. Romero was far too hittable, giving up one per inning, while walking a ridiculous 6.6 per-nine.

Romero talked about his “student,” Antonio Bastardo, and the great job he’s done this season, which made him expendable.

Does this now mean that Worley is staying until Blanton is ready, or is this merely a spot start to keep the rotation in order? That question will be answered in due time.


According to a tweet from the Phillies account, Brian Schneider will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow with the Reading Phillies. Schneider hasn’t played since May 11, when he injured his hamstring running the bases in Florida. He also suffered a set back during rehab in late May.

Dane Sardinha has been the backup to Carlos Ruiz since the injury to Schneider and the results have not been pretty. He’s batting just .219 with one RBI in 15 games.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1714 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 2002 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    D ee Leeeightful!
    Who honestly thought he would rope that double to knock in the first run though? Seriously!

  • Posts: 555 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    A thought or two about J.C. Romero. It is widely known that his role as a lefty specialist would be limited to pitching against LH batters in key situations. And his 2011 stats suggests he performed his job effectively as LH batters had only a ,208 BA against him. In addition, his so/bb ratio was 2.00. However, for reason only known to Charlie Manuel, he allowed Romero to face RH batters MORE often than LH batters (37 ABs for RH vs. 24 ABs for LH). This is where Romero was ineffective as RH batters hit .297 BA and the so/bb ratio is 0.25.

    So in Romero’s defense, Manuel’s handling of the lefty specialist is questonable to say the least. I don’t doubt Romero was good for team’s chemistry and for the clubhouse camaraderie. I wish him well and hope he can latch on to another club.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I think High Cheese pointed out the other day that those numbers seem skewed, because it got to the point where Romero was only being used in non-close situations . . . . so they didn’t care which side the batter was on, they just needed a pitcher to get outs, instead Romero walks everyone

    If you’re a MLB pitcher, you should be able to throw strikes… “There is no defense for the walk” is something I learned early in my baseball career, and we all see how often those free passes can hurt a team

  • Posts: 0 Andrew From Waldorf

    7 in a row

    Very tough sleding coming up Fri and Sat in Seattle

    Will be interesting to see how they hit there then St louis
    Then Oakland at home and they can pitch too
    Will find out how good the “new” offense is the next 9 days

    then the Red sox which will test the pitching

  • Posts: 1110 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    Cliff’s doubles to CF are a delight to watch. He does that every now and then… and it just changes the whole vibe about a game. Basically, a 0-0 game became 1-0 and it was just pure unadulterated baseball fun from that point on.

    Effin Cliff.

  • Posts: 1376 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    This Seattle series, I look at as a test or a “trap” if you will. Coming off a 9-2, but tough, homestand. If they arent careful, they could lose 2 of 3 out there. A lot of travel after a lot of play the last 48 hours.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Amen Pat. Who the hell scheduled that series? I say you can count on it. Question: After a nice outing the other day, does Kyle Kendrick hold ANY value to ANY team yet?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Andrew From Waldorf

    I think KKs most value is on the Phillies
    He adds versatility. You wouldnt recieve anything of consequence for him either.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I was surprised the Phils actually released Romero. I was thinking they would wait until they had Lidge back or at least thought for sure he was coming back. Romero is a good team player but he simply cannot get batters out. With Stutes an Bastardo arising he simply didnt have any real role on this team. I hope Worley proves his worth when he comes up. He will most likely latch on to another club because he is a lefty. I think it was time JC simply didnt have his stuff. The Phils took a gamble resigning him an it looks like it didnt pay off. We all know the Philadelphia curse every time we cut/trade a player he comes back to haunt us or becomes a superstar.

  • Posts: 2002 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    I would not be too concerned about the Mariners. They have some pitching but we all know too well the offensive slumps the Phils go through on what seems to frequent occasion? This team has zip offense, nada, no-show – there is absolutely nothing in the tank – Ichiro is hitting .269 – remember the ballyhoo about the coveted third baseman Chone Figgins? After 61 games this schmo is hitting .198 – wow – if the M’s score 4 runs its a celebration.

    The pitchers we are going to face – Pineda (a rookie who is 0-2 in his last 2 outtings with an ERA of near 7), King Felix (we have Worley slotted tomorrow to face him but in the last 4 games Felix is looking quite the peasant – 28 IP, 28 hits, 14 walks, 13 ER ) is hittable. Hamels vs Vargas in the 3rd game and I think it really depends on how Hamels is feeling by then. Vargas is nothing special and we know what Cole brings to the table I’m just not sure what that ‘knot’ in his back was all about.

    No worries though, at least 2 of 3 from the O-less Mariners.

  • Posts: 2896 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Or it could go the other way and the Phillies come out flat after a long plane ride and coming down from the emotional high of the homestand. Pineda is just the kind of pitcher that the Phillies could have problems with.

    Yeah…2 out of 3 is definitley possible….but it wouldn’t shock me either to see them lose 2 of 3.

    In truth…I will be happy with a 3-3 trip.

  • Posts: 2002 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Sorry Chuck, you’re wrong about the Seattle series. They just outright stink

    Now when the Phils get to St Louis, I’m hoping that Howard starts feasting like he normally does on Redbird while out there… last visit he did nothing which was surprising. He loves the home cookin’.

    I’m looking at 4-2 maybe even 5-1 road trip and hey, even a 3-3 home stand to end the month (A’s stink too). So given the Phils are currently 10-5 this month, 7 wins would put them in a very comfortable spot for July.

  • Posts: 2896 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Well, Brooks I guess we’ll see in a few days. I hope I am wrong and they go 3-0 in Seattle. But stranger things have happened and i’ve seen this kind of letdown before going into a West Coast trip.

  • Posts: 5392 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I had to work yesterday so I watched the game late last night. Cliff Lee was sensational, and has pitched well his last three starts. IMO- The difference in Cliff Lee that we have seen the last three starts is that he is keeping the ball down in the zone. This decreases his strikeout numbers and leads to more ground ball outs. We don’t need him to strike out 16 and get beat, we need this Cliff Lee, keeping the ball down, and mixing in more curves as he told Sarge after the game. He looked like the Cliff Lee of old last night, pitching, fielding and hitting. We have three guys that really have it going right now, and hopefully Oswalt will return to his dominant second half of last year.

    I’ll take 3-3 on the road trip. After all we are only 2 games over .500 on the road on the season right now, and still have the best record. Safeco field is big like Petco, but Wheeler says the ball carries better there, I guess we’ll find out.

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