Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rough Outing for Lee and the Phillies

MLB: Phillies vs Brewers OCT 5

The Phillies #1 starter Cliff Lee faced off against struggling Brewers' starter Manny Parra on Friday night in Milwaukee. Hearing afterward that one pitcher had a dominant outing while the other surrendered a pair of 3-run homers, most would be surprised to learn the identity of each. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Lee had his worst outing in a Phillies uniform while Parra had his best performance of the season.

Lee was hit hard in the 1st inning, but almost worked his way out of trouble. Prince Fielder lined a two out single to center to plate the first run. After Lee did not get the call on 1-2 fastball that appeared to be right down broadway, Mike Cameron capitalized on the second chance by launching a 3-run homer to left. What looked like an inning ending strikeout, turned into a 4-0 deficit.

After Parra set down the Phillies in order over the first 3 innings, an error, walk and 2-run single by Ryan Howard cut the Brewers lead in half. Meanwhile, Lee settled down and cruised through the next 3 innings, before encountering trouble in the 5th. A hit batter and single put two runners aboard before Fielder crushed a towering drive into the upper deck in right-center field to extend the lead to 7-2.

The Phils rallied for a couple runs in the 8th, with Howard collecting his 135th RBI of the season, one behind Fielder's NL leading 136. A potential rally in the 9th was quickly shut down by closer Trevor Hoffman, who used mostly 84-86 mph fastballs along with his signature change-up to induce three weak outs.

The loss allowed the surging Braves to move within 6 games in the NL East and keep the magic number at 4. The Cardinals 2-1 loss to the Rockies kept the 1/2 game ahead of St. Louis for the 2nd playoff seed. Some more bad injury news came there way when it was determined that Pedro Martinez had not recovered enough from a neck strain to make his scheduled start today, so Kyle Kendrick will start in his place. Also, with the bullpen struggles, the team is hoping for strong performances from the starters in order to advance in the playoffs, so Lee's outing certainly causes concern.

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