June, August, October. If Cliff Lee continues the way he’s pitching, we’re in for a fantastic postseason.
Maybe you haven’t taken notice, but Cliff Lee’s August has been almost as amazing as his June. He continued his torrid month by throwing seven shutout innings in Monday’s 10-0 win over the New York Mets.
Here in August, Lee is 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA. He has given up just two runs in 31 innings, a bounce back after a rough July by his standards. Lee has blown through August relatively quietly, but it’s almost on par with June. In that month, Lee tossed 42 innings and gave up just one earned run. If he didn’t own June completely, this August may be getting more press. But as it stands, Lee just continues to roll along, winning his 14th game on Monday night against the lowly Mets.
Run support was given early and often by Hunter Pence and John Mayberry, Jr. among many others. Mayberry ripped his 11th homer of the season in the third inning, Pence went yard in the sixth, his 16th of the year.
Mayberry continues to absolutely rake; and he wasn’t even in the original starting lineup on Monday. He took over for Raul Ibanez, who was scratched with a sore groin; a la Jimmy Rollins. It is thought to be less severe for Ibanez, but in the end it worked out well for the offense. On top of that two-run homer, Mayberry knocked in a run with a bases loaded walk. It’s quite possible we’re seeing a transformation of Mayberry into a real, big league hitter. With 11 homers in 187 at-bats, 30 home run power is within reach for Big John.
And Hunter Pence is just being Hunter Pence. He’s now hitting .321 with the Phillies since the trade. Pence’s home run was on a breaking ball that he waited on and ripped into the right field seats. Four times Pence touched home plate, and finished a robust 3-for-4 on the evening.
Placido Polanco returned to the lineup and made his presence felt in the two-hole. A 2-for-4 night is a fantastic way to contribute after a DL stint.
Pretty much everyone by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard showed up in the blowout victory. Wilson Valdez started at shortstop for J-Roll and chipped in with an RBI and Carlos Ruiz knocked in two runs and collected two hits. Shane Victorino had a triple that brought home two.
The all-of-the-sudden-unhittable David Herndon closed it out with two scoreless frames, giving the Phillies their 17th shutout of the season.
It was a complete effort from Lee and his offense. Take September off, Cliff. And do in October what you’ve done in June and August.