Expectations High as Lee Makes Debut – Phillies Nation
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Expectations High as Lee Makes Debut

Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee laughs during batting practice before a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco, Thursday, July 30, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Tonight is the night.  Tonight, we begin the Cliff Lee Experiment at AT&T Park in San Francisco, as the Phillies new hurler takes the mound.

His debut appearance comes with a litany of expectations, with the most significant placing Lee as the catalyst for another shot at a title.  So, basically, no pressure.

Ah, but there is. Lee’s presence alone makes this Phillies team the one to beat in the National League, and evens the playing field with the Yankees, Red Sox, and others in the American League.

Starting at 10:15 p.m., Lee will face off against Ryan Sadowski, the owner of five career starts.  The new number 34 will be placed on a pedestal, fairly or unfairly, from now until the Phillies run ends.

The 30-year old was brought here to solidify the rotation that had been in need of a workhorse to sit at the top with Cole Hamels.  Expectations will be immense out of the chute, and there is no doubt we will all be keeping a keen eye on him.  But, from now until the Phillies run ends, we will also be keeping tabs on the horse that got away; Roy Halladay.  The comparisons will be never-ending; especially for those who believed the right move to make was the one with Toronto.

To everyone out there: what will make Lee’s final two months a success?  Is a winning record enough?  How about becoming this year’s C.C. Sabathia?  Or does it all come down to Lee-ding the charge to another pennant, and ultimately, another ring?

Sit back and enjoy watching the reigning Cy Young winner toss his first game in red pinstripes.  It’s exciting when you realize that the Phillies not only made perhaps the biggest splash of the trade deadline (when was the last time they lay that claim), but are also in a stunning position for a repeat.  Enjoy.

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  1. Havoc

    July 31, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I’m very optimistic about our chances now that no one picked up Halladay. As far as Lee’s first start, I’m not going to ask him to pitch a no hitter for us. All the team needs is to get back on a roll, solid D and starting pitching that gives the offense a chance to win. That said I’m going to be glued to the TV.

  2. Philsphan

    July 31, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    All that matters with Lee is how he does in the postseason. He could have an incredible rest of the regular season, but it won’t matter unless he performs well in the playoffs. Otherwise, people will always question Amaro Jr., saying he should have gone out and gotten Halladay. Ultimately, for this trade to be considered a success, the Phillies have to repeat as champions. Though that might be unfair to base Lee’s success that way, that’s the way people are going to view it.

  3. Mark B

    July 31, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Before we acquired Lee, we couldn’t really say we had one of the best #1 and #2 starting pitcher combinations at the top of the rotation. With Hamels and Lee, now we can definitely say we have one of the best.

  4. therookie300

    July 31, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    We shouldn’t question Amaro Jr. on this. He went out and made the best deal for this team for now and the future. He evaluated what was their at the present and made the move. A very good one I might add. Solving two weaknesses with one move. That’s something the Toronto trade wouldn’t have done.
    To the people saying Lee isn’t playoff tested, neither is Halladay. So both of these guys have no playoff experience. With that in mind taking the guy that costs us less from the farm and was also packaged with another piece makes that the better deal, by far.

  5. The Little Guy

    July 31, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    If he doesn’t throw a complete game shut out, we should just cut him.

    Just Kidding

    Haha.

  6. Philsphan

    July 31, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I completely agree therookie300, but that doesn’t mean Amaro Jr. won’t be criticized if Lee performs badly in the playoffs. There will always be people out there who will say we should have gotten Halladay. And the only way those people will be silenced is if we win another World Series. It may be unfair, but that’s how it’s going to be evaluated.

  7. The Little Guy

    July 31, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Philsphan, i disagree, any knowledgable fan would know that one person isn’t going to lose them a playoff series, what if Lee pitches like Hamels did last year and they lose in the NLCS or NLDS, is Amaro going to be criticized? Sure, by idiots, but not people who know the game.

  8. Manny

    July 31, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Not necessarily, Philsphan…

  9. psujoe

    July 31, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    It takes a whole team to win the WS and a good bit of luck. Here’s a scenario for you Martinez doesn’ pan out and Lopez is over would you feel better in the playoffs with

    Halladay
    Hamels
    Blanton
    Moyer

    or

    Lee
    Hamels
    Blanton
    Happ

  10. Philsphan

    July 31, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I still think people will say “what if?” if we don’t win the WS though. Sure you’re right, if he pitches like Hamels did last year, then only an idiot would criticize Amaro. But, I think if he pitches like that, we would win the WS again. However, what if he wins a couple but loses a couple? I think Amaro will be really criticized then (which is stupid I might add) because people will think Halladay could have won them all. Who knows if those critics are right and Halladay might have won some games Lee didn’t, but if we don’t win the Series because Lee loses one of the WS games, then Amaro will most certainly have people questioning him.

  11. Mazinman

    July 31, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Has anyone seen the video on ESPN on the biggest winners of the trade deadline? They talk to four of their analysts and Cliff Lee to the Phillies only get a quick mention by Peter Gammons. Guess getting a CY YOUNG WINNER isn’t worth much anymore.

    Sheesh.

  12. Mikey Mike

    July 31, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Mazinman: To be fair the Washburn addition for Detroit is absolutely wonderful for them. Washburn is one if THE hottest pitchers in the American League and hes going to a rotation that already boast Verlander and Jackson and Washburn is a Lefty to squeeze in between them.
    Lee is a huge addition and we all know it, thats enough for me. I hope tonight hes electric and the team can all smile wide knowing they are on the expressway back to the big series.

  13. Terrence

    July 31, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    From Todd Zolecki via Twitter

    Tonight’s lineup in SF: Rollins SS, Francisco CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Ibanez LF, Werth RF, Feliz 3B, Bako C, Lee P.

    Also in Lehigh Valley tonight its Pedro Martinez maybe making his last start in the minors vs former iron pig carlos carrasco.

    Lehigh Valley is losing 1-0 going to bottom of 4th. Martinez allowed a homerun on the second pitch but has allowed only 1 baserunner since.

    His line so far: 4IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 3K, 1HR, 49 pitches (33 strikes, 16 balls)
    martinez reached 93mph on the gun

  14. Griffin

    July 31, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Martinez hit 93 on the gun? If that reading was correct then he could be a huge steal for the Phils. He was topping out at 86-88 last year.

  15. Geoff

    July 31, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Francisco definitely is a solid piece to prode utility as a 4th OF

  16. psujoe

    July 31, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    WOW, 93 mph. 49 pitches in 4 is certainly better than 20 in the fiest inning last outing. I’d be happy to see him make it into the 7th with 70-75 pitches.

    Agree on Francisco. Nice all around player. He’s cheap and we can keep him around until Taylor or Brown make it up. Maybe even longer.

  17. Gavin

    July 31, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Pedro gave up 5 run in 5 IP. It looks like he needs a few more ML starts to get it straight.

    Please leave Happ in the rotation!!

  18. Gavin

    July 31, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    All I want tonight is a Phils’ W. Gammons and crew will only cream for the RedSox, we know that. I hope this move becomes an under the radar move. I like the pressure being off.

  19. psujoe

    July 31, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Must have been a brutal 5th inning. Sounds like Pedro still has a long way to go.

  20. j reed

    July 31, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Is there a radio station that carries lehigh valley games

  21. Dave

    July 31, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    show the rest of baseball that the Phillies don’t need P.E.D’s to win a championship…

    http://www.superlogoz.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=Clean%5FChampionship

  22. psujoe

    July 31, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Must have been some tmiely hitting because I just heard Pedro only gave up 3 hits including theone dinger in the 1st inning. 5 R, 4 ER.

  23. baseballfan

    July 31, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    It was 35 pitchers though in one inning. against minorleaguers

  24. psujoe

    July 31, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Well he made it to 75 pitches, just took 2 less innings than I hoped, LOL.

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