Top Moment No. 9: Lee’s First Start a Gem – Phillies Nation

Top Moment No. 9: Lee’s First Start a Gem

Top Moment #9: Cliff Lee Goes the Distance in His First Start as a Phillie’t it feel like Lee is somehow haunting this team?  Take a trip back to July 31 when Cliff Lee was the New Guy on the Philadelphia Phillies, when the buzz was reaching its apex following the pre-deadline deal that brought him over from Cleveland.  The Phils didn’t get the guy at the top of their list (Roy Halladay), but did acquire someone with a solid pedigree.  No one was sure exactly what Lee would bring to the table, but it was apparent that moving to the NL would give him a leg up on the competition.

His first start took place against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park along the Bay.  Lee wasted no time acclimating himself to the NL, tossing a complete game, four-hitter, throwing 109 pitches – 76 for strikes – all while re-energizing a team that had been lacking that big-game starter they could rely on for the postseason.  In one fell swoop, Lee became an ace, and from that point forward, became a cult hero in Philadelphia following the 5-1 victory.

I won’t soon forget where I was for this game.  Standing in Lucy’s Hat Shop on 3rd & Market, the place erupted as Lee closed the game out by inducing a 4-6-3 double-play, complements (or compliments) of Bengie Molina.  As we rejoiced a little louder than usual for a July 31 game, the seeds had then been planted.  The Phillies were in the process of running away with the NL East, as they took a six game lead. Lee was in the process of sheer domination, as he would go on to win five straight starts, beginning with this demolition of the Giants.  The team, starting July 31, became the team to beat once again in the Senior Circuit.  All thanks to Cliff Lee.



  1. WFC010

    January 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    That 1st Cliff Lee start was DEFINITELY one of the most exciting games in the regular season for us in a loooooooong time, and the best was still yet to come once the Post-Season rolled around. Cliff Lee will always have a very special place in the hearts of many Phillies fans, and how many other players with that short of a tenure here can say the same?

    Wishing him the best in Seattle, and who knows? Maybe there could be a Phillies VS Mariners World Series!

  2. Dudley Monk

    January 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Cliff Lee immediately put the Phils in the position to win the championship. He was the tonic to success and came at the perfect time. I hope and expect Roy Halladay to give us even more than Mr. Lee. But I will always remember Cliff Lee’s clutch performances and the excitement he brought to Phillies’ baseball.

  3. psujoe

    January 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    cliff who?

  4. The Dipsy

    January 10, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Vlad “The Implaler” to Texas for 1y5m. What a joke.

    The Dipsy

  5. The Dipsy

    January 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Excuse me. 6m. What a joke.

    The Dipsy

  6. psujoe

    January 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm


    good for Rangers or bad for Rangers?

  7. The Dipsy

    January 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    If we signed Vlad for 1y/6m how would you feel?

    The Dipsy

  8. psujoe

    January 10, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    We don’t need him and we don’t have a DH so I wouldn’t be happy.

  9. The Dipsy

    January 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Yes, but, don’t you think that is pretty cheap for a 34 year old .321 career hitter?

    The Dipsy

  10. Dudley Monk

    January 10, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Vlad has knees like silly putty. His bat is explosive. If his knees hold up it will be one of the best deals in baseball. If not, it was worth the gamble. He is a future Hall of Fame talent. Wish him well.

  11. psujoe

    January 10, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I’d like him at 1/6 if I could make room for him in a good deal. You’d have to trade Ibanez if you sign Vlad because he wouldn’t want to be a 4th wheel. Not sure what the market for Ibanez is. Isn’t Vlad a downgrade fielding wise for Ibanez? I know he was a stud in his day, but as mentioned his wheels aren’t to good.

  12. Dudley Monk

    January 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    He would be a defensive downgrade, and if he played defense, he would probably be limited due to injuries and required time off. He is a classic example of a great hitter who prolongs his career in the American league.

  13. The Dipsy

    January 10, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    I would kill to trade Raul Ibanez. I mean, look, the guy is a good hitter. He is. He just costs too damn much. Surprised he got hurt last year? Thats what happens with old guys. They get hurt. To be honest, I would give him away just get the money off the books and just sign a one year guy.

    The Dipsy

  14. Just Crushed

    January 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Don’t we all miss Cliff Lee?? Wait until July and you’ll see what I mean. Amro is killing this team to sooth his ego.

  15. Mazinman

    January 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Vlad signing with Texas made me wonder if we could get Thome to round out our bench with some power for cheap. Texas was the only team I was hearing that was going after Jim which I doubt they would do now that they have Vlad.

    On another note, can we please stop putting Lee moments in? Every single one is torture as it brings back up the thoughts of having Halladay AND Lee. 😛

  16. Dudley Monk

    January 10, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I would not be surprised to see Thome end up in Kansas City. I don’t think he would come back here because I believe he wants a shot at 600 career homers. As a DH, he would see many more at-bats than as a pinch hitter. He would also help the Royals offensively.

  17. The Dipsy

    January 10, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I did not read the post above because: A) Its by a guy named SpankYankee; B) It was about the Yankees (I could tell by the first sentence); and 3) It was too long.

    If you wanna rib the other guy, assuming that was the purpose, you at least should write something that he will wanna read.

    The Dipsy

  18. Dudley Monk

    January 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Hey Spanky Yankee — would you like some Yankee Toe Jam ?

  19. psujoe

    January 10, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Forget Thome, the Phils nebch players are all signed. If anything they’ll sign a reliever or a possible starter. Unless I could get a smoltz, Sheetz, or someone with an incentive laiden contract I’d save the money for the trade deadline if need be. Only because we know they’re on a budget.

  20. NateB

    January 10, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I was at that Lee game in SF. Definitely the best game I attended all year. It’s always fun being the only one in the entire stadium cheering the whole game.

  21. j reed

    January 10, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Crap just read the Mets are looking to sign Pinero…great another sinkerballer to face. Though he’s looking for the same deal Wolf got with the Brewers…29.5 million for 3 years. Perhaps not a good deal for anyone but that doesn’t preclude them from doing something stupid. I just don’t want another night watching our line-up suffer from sinkerballitsis.

  22. Greg V.

    January 10, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Watched the game in a hotel bar in Atlantic City while hookers were getting busted all around me. Good times!

  23. The Dipsy

    January 11, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I pray the Mets sign Piniero for that money.

    The Dipsy

  24. Chuck

    January 11, 2010 at 7:50 am

    “That’s what happens with old guys. They get hurt.”


    Ibanez being an “old guy” has LESS to do with him getting hurt than the fact that ….HE JUST SIMPLY GOT HURT…plain and simple. Pat Burrell is 4 years younger than Raul….and spent MORE time on the DL…and was LESS productive last year than Raul. So that’s a pretty lame argument.

    If you’re saying that once you turn a certain age…let’s say 35…”old” in a baseball player’s life…that you have a BETTER chance of getting hurt…that’s probably true..

    But you can’t just say…”oh, well, the guy’s old…so…he’s gonna get hurt…it’s a given.

    There’s a TON of “old guys” out there that I would rather have on my team…because of their hustle and attitude…and their experience…

    Hell..earlier in this thread you even suggested Vlad…who is “old”…and a worse fielder than Ibanez…


    Another thing…

    “I would just give him away and get the money off the books and just sign a one year guy.”

    Ibanez is basically a one year guy anyway…because the chance of him being traded next off-season or at the deadline in 2011 …is a defin ite possibility….assuming Brown is ready..

    Also, your suggestion that we “get him off the books” is exactly what happened with Cliff Lee…he’s now off the books…because we couldn’t afford him…and we traded him close to the height of his value..

    So now you are saying we should basically do the same thing with Ibanez…trade him to get him off the books….that’s what you argued against with Lee.

  25. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 10:55 am

    So 34 year old Vlad Guerrero can only get a 1-year deal while 34 year old Placido Polanco gets a 3-year deal.

  26. The Dipsy

    January 11, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Alright Chuck. Obviously, you’re just trying to be argumentative. But I’ll bite. Freeing up the money but just getting rid of Ibanez for prospects, which we could never do because no team would ever do it, would free up money that we could use else where. The Lee comparison is flawed because, unlike Ibanez, we could not find a suitable replacement for Lee. There are one year guys that could fill in for Ibanez just fine. Lee is a Cy Young stud who was cheap. Ibanez is an overpaid professional hitter who was hurt the whole second half of last season. Would you mind Jermaine Dye for a year? How about Johnny Damon? These guys will sign one year deals at under 8m. The tons of old guys that have hustle and attitude do you no good if they are on the DL.

    The Dipsy

  27. Don M

    January 11, 2010 at 11:59 am

    34 year old Placido Polanco can play the field and run the bases

    34 year old Vlad Guerrero hasn’t been able to do either of those for the past 2+ seasons

    Ibanez isn’t going anywhere until we have a player in-house that can replace him … that player isn’t Ben Francisco, of John Mayberry Jr

    Whenever Domonic Brown is ready to play in the majors, that will be when Ibanez trade rumors heat up .. it will be sometime between June 2010-and-June 2011

    until then.. can we be thankful that our lineup is awesome.. regardless of his salary.. we’re so good that Raul Ibanez hits 7th for us!!!

  28. psujoe

    January 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I never even thought of trading Ibanez for prospects, but seriously what would it bring in? I don’t think we’d get anything close to what Lee brought in. How about Ibanez and Blanton ina package? Would anyone really want to shell out 18 million and top prospects? I don’t know the answers, but Lee/Damon or Lee/Vlad vs Blanton/Ibanez? similar money, but could we have gotten similar prospects? Intriging.

  29. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    So 34 year-old Mark Derosa can only get a 2 year deal, while 34 year-old Placido Polanco gets a 3-year deal.

  30. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Ibanez doesn’t have much trade value because of his massive contract. Why would a team go out and pay Ibanez $23 mil for 2 years AND give up prospects?

  31. The Dipsy

    January 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Thats the point Griffin. Nobody would. Nobody would take Ibanez on their payroll right now. Period. Joe – Sadly, no one would take Ibanez and Blanton either. I would like to see the Phils sign Blanton to a three year deal. I like the guy.

    The Dipsy

  32. Don M

    January 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Mark DeRosa has had half the career of Placido Polanco

    so yea he could only get a 2 year deal, while polanco gets 3

  33. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    So coming into this offseason, you thought Placido Polanco deserved the 3rd longest (after Holliday and Bay) contract of any position player?!

    It’s okay to admit that Ruben gave another player too many years. Admitting it doesn’t make you a whiner or a Phillies hater. Amaro gave Ibanez an extra year. He gave Polanco and extra year and for some odd reason, decided to extend that same courtesy to Danys Baez.

    When the Phils are unable to re-sign Jayson Werth because a 36 year old Ibanez is making $11.5 mil then maybe people will see why it’s not wise to give the extra year every single time.

  34. Don M

    January 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    There are probably a few teams that wouldn’t mind having Raul Ibanez at $11 M this year

    but they wouldn’t also give up prospects for him …

  35. Don M

    January 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    When we would’ve missed out on Ibanez last year, had we not given him that 3rd year

    and probably missed the playoffs had it not been for Ibanez carrying the team in the 1st half of last season ..

    Its not like guys are agreeing to contracts, and then Amaro gives them an extra year just for the hell of it …

    What does the length of other players’ contracts have to do with Polanco?

    Holliday and Bay aren’t in the same category.. DeRosa, Figgins, and Beltre are

    We reportedly offered Beltre a a 3 year/$24 M deal that he turned down
    Figgins i think got 4 years at $36 M
    and DeRosa got 2 at $12

    I would say that value wise, Polanco fits right at what we signed him for

  36. Don M

    January 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    What I think you’re getting at Griffin is that

    You would rather the Phillies had signed Mark DeRosa to play 3b, for the next TWO years at $6 M… than Placido Polanco to play 3b, for the next THREE years at $6 M


    If that’s the case, I couldn’t disagree more…

  37. Chuck

    January 11, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    You’re joking, right? You want Johnny Damon instead of Raul Ibanez?

    Damon can’t throw worth sh!t…granted he has a similiar BA to Raul’s….288 vs Raul’s .285

    Jermaine Dye has a career .274 BA…so it’s not terrible by any means. His career fielding is .981 vs. Rauls .987….so again…kind of comparable..

    But the point has been made…Raul isn’t going ANYWHERE til Dom Brown is ready to take over….and I guess that’s projected for 2011…

    So…at that point….hypothetically, Ibanez’ $11.5 MM is off the books for 2011….and that possibly clears salary for Werth.

    And can’t anybody realize how much of an upgrade Polanco is??…both at the plate …and with his versatility in the field…the guy can play 3rd, 2nd, and I’m sure 1st Base and Left Field respectably…if you asked him to do it.

  38. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    The difference is that Beltre is 30, Figgins is 31 and Polanco is 34. Polanco is regressing already and to offer him 3 years and expect him not to continue to regress is silly. The Phils shouldn’t be paying Polanco based on what he did 4 or 5 years ago, they should be paying him based on what he is going to do in the future.

    And I keep hearing how the Phillies would have lost Ibanez if they had not given the extra year. My question is: Lost him to whom? The Cubs wanted Bradley. The Mets were the other team people thought were interested-they weren’t. If they were, they would have at least made an offer to another corner OF (Abreu, Dunn). The Phillies bid against themselves. The contract looks fine in year 1, but it’s year 3 that will hurt. Also, Ibanez hit .251 after May 1st, so instead of saying “Ibanez had a great year” can we just say “Ibanez had a great April”?

  39. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Don M, I hate Derosa, but Derosa and Polanco are at least comparable, are the same age and yet Polanco got the extra year. It’s just a pattern with Amaro.

    I’d rather have Beltre at 2 years and 14 mil (assuming his option gets picked up) than Polanco for 3 years at 18.

  40. Don M

    January 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    DeRosa is a career utility player.. Polanco started as that, then turned himself in an All-Star and Gold Glove 2b.

    We tried to get Beltre at $24 M over 3 years… and he turned it down

    I would also rather have him at 2 years and $14 M

    but that’s not even a possiblilty so why bring it up as an option?

  41. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    It’s not a possibility to get Beltre at 2 years $14 M because Amaro already signed Polanco. Had Amaro waited then Beltre’s demands would have obviously gone down to the point where he would have signed that 3 year $24 mil deal. But Amaro didn’t wait and wound up overpaying for an inferior player.

  42. Don M

    January 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    last offseason, the teams interested in Ibanez included

    Phillies, Cubs, Mets, Angels, Nationals, Rays and Braves

    in 2008, the Mets and Cubs were both looking into deals to trade for Ibanez.. last year the Braves got Garett Anderson and traded for Nate McLouth so they were definitely in the market for an OF .. but have been trying to cut payroll over the last few seasons

  43. Don M

    January 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Its pretty easy to say that we should have waited, and waited, and waited, and waited on players that already turned down your contract offer.

    Smart GM’s turn their attention elsewhere, to players that want to play for their organization..

    good thing we’ve got a smart GM who went out an improved the team!

  44. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    If those teams were interested in a corner OF, then why did Abreu sign for peanuts (1 year, $5 mil)?

  45. Chuck

    January 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm


    Ibanez had a great April, May and part of June….THEN he got hurt and went on the DL..

    When he came back it obviously took some time for him to find his groove again…down the stretch…he began to hit again…so that .251 doesn’t really reflect how he finished the season.

  46. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Don M, if Amaro turned his attention from Beltre to Polanco and got Polanco to agree to a 2-year deal, then fine. But why jump at the chance to sign Polanco for 3 years? Wait him out and see which one comes crawling back to you for an opportunity to play in a hitter’s park and win a WS ring.

  47. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Ibanez broke down because he’s a 37 year-old player who can no longer DH. Unfortunately, I think we can expect a few more of those nagging injuries in his age 38 and 39 years.

  48. Chuck

    January 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    And I’m sure we’ll get some “nagging injuries” from some of our younger players as well…all the more reason that Polanco’s versatility helps…he can spell Chase at second….giving Dobbs a chance to play and stay sharp

    Francisco helps in the outfield….ALL the outfielders…so they don’t get as tired…and then HE satys sharp.

    Age has less to do with injuries than how a player approaches the game, what his regimen is, etc, etc. From what I can see…and I don’t know all the details…but Raul Ibanez works pretty hard at staying in shape and in preparing for games.

  49. Griffin

    January 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Chuck, I agree that Raul is extremely hard-working and is apparently a great guy. But studies have shown that as a player ages, his injury risk increases exponentially. There are always outliers, and hopefully Ibanez is one of them, but he’s more of a health risk now than he was years ago.

  50. psujoe

    January 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I’m actually petty happy with the off season so far. One key factor the phils have this year they didn’t have last year is OF depth. Fransisco for a full year and Gloud should allow Charlie to rest Ibanez, Vic and Werth enough so that they don’t break down. Charlie didn’t have those options last year.

  51. Georgie

    January 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I really have nothing to add, y’all know how I feel about him, so I’ll just mention that he looks SOOOO hot in that picture! Seriously, hottest Phillie since Dr. Jim Lonborg. ooooo-eeeeeee!!!!

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