Lee Falters as Phillies Fall in Washington – Phillies Nation
2011 Game Recaps

Lee Falters as Phillies Fall in Washington

Neither Cliff Lee nor Danny Espinosa were themselves tonight. Lee looked more like Kyle Kendrick than anything else, and Espinosa, for one night only, turned into the second coming of Joe Morgan. The Phillies’ second ace continued a run of mortality, as he and Roy Halladay gave up four runs or more in consecutive starts for the first time all season. Lee allowed six runs, all earned, on seven hits, two of them home runs by Espinosa, in only 5 1/3 innings, the first time he’d been knocked out before completing six since he was shelled in Atlanta in his second start of the year.

The result? The Nationals became the first team to score in double digits against the Phillies since a 12-11 win over the Rockies at Coors Field last Sept. 2, and emerged victorious over the Phillies by a score of 10-2.

Espinosa belted his ninth and tenth home runs of the year, a three-run shot to cap a five-run third and a solo shot to lead off the sixth. The third inning, which ended with the Phillies down five, happened, it seemed, in the blink of an eye, as the Nationals scored all five runs on only 14 pitches before batting around.

At first, it looked like the blow wouldn’t be fatal, as John Mayberry and Domonic Brown hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the fifth, then, four batters later, Chase Utley hit a two-out fly ball to right that missed being a home run by only a few feet. With several innings to go and Jason Marquis on the mound, a comeback was not out of the question.

Then everything truly went in the tank. First, Espinosa homered again in the sixth, then the Nats put up three more in the seventh off Danys Baez, then another in the eighth off Mike Zagurski, who pulled the unusual trick of walking a relief pitcher.

For those of you interested in silver linings, Dom Brown homered and doubled, and Placido Polanco continued to churn out single after single, adding two to the cause this evening. In all, it was a night to forget at Citizens Bank Park South. Roy Oswalt and John Lannan will face off tomorrow in the getaway game.

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  1. Lefty

    May 31, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    A night to forget, but the Jim Beam was great.

    It looks to my untrained eye that Cliff is leaving a lot of balls up in the strike zone the last five or six starts. I’d love to see a heat map to see if that’s true. I went to fangraphs, but haven’t a clue how to customize one.

  2. jimmy hender

    May 31, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Remove PostJimmy HinnershitzCharlie’s Aces Roy Halladay,Cliff Lee,Roy Oswalt & Cole Hamels
    Cliff Lee has not been the dominant pitch we Phillies fans are used to ,,fact is during the regular season he is not dominant ,,in 09 he went 14-13,,in 2010 he went 12-9 an now in 2011 he is just 3-3 so far, yes he wins big playoff games but a pitcher that had Phils fans salivating since December should pitch a lot better than he has…,during the season ,,,why arent the hard core fans in his shit??? is he a prima donna??? if Hamels pitched like Lee has he would of and has gotten Booed…i feel Lee owes us more,,especially if he as he did in the preseason wants to be the voice of our Aces,,,he should be embarressed to let the Nationals beat him like they did tonite,,,he pitched like Joe Blanton,,,,

  3. Pat Gallen

    May 31, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Yes, tonight was a Jim Beam kinda evening.

  4. bacardipr05

    May 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Lets not sugar coat this turd a sugar coated turd still stinks. Lee was rocked Baez sucked an my man Zag cant seem to get a break at MLB level. Lee has had some Gems this years an some Turds. However the Turds are surpassing the Gems. Not to take anything aways from the Nats but it stinks a little more when its lower ranked team. We have the new an improved Pirates coming up lets take this next game tomorrow.

    • Lefty

      May 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm

      You know even as Jim Beam lubricated as I presently am, I’ve never considered the thought of what a sugar coated turd would smell like.

      Just playin with you Bacardi 🙂

      • bacardipr05

        May 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm


  5. Schultzy

    May 31, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Wow, that game left me with serious heartburn. I know that these guys are “mortal” and I know expecting shutdowns and double-digit strikeouts every night is unreasonable AND unfair. However, I totally agree with Jimmy Hender’s post above, in that Hamels would NEVER get a pass on a game like this and were it a home game, would have been loudly booed off the field.

    Everyone comments that booing is just a way of life in Philly, but that’s a bit of a lie. I go to many, many games and people only feel comfortable booing certain pitchers and certain batters. There are way too many double standards and passes for the “stars” when its too often Hamels -the “4th ace” with better control than the rest, and Brown/Mayberry/Francisco getting the big hits while Rollins et al whiff out over and over, while the crowd sits quietly disappointed.

    Well, said my piece and need to sleep this one off and hope to see something better tomorrow!

    • kittykat

      June 1, 2011 at 7:54 am

      Agree with everything you said, Schutlzy. Cole Hamels is not a fan favorite and is subject to the double standard. I keep hearing excuses for Lee and to an extent, Halladay. Too much pressure on Lee because he’s making all that money. Too hot for Halladay. What?? They are supposed to be baseball’s best pitchers, paid accordingly and there should be no excuses! Charlie Manuel rarely gives any credit to Cole Hamels after his starts and I’m wondering if Charlie has some dislike or disconnect with Cole.

  6. Dave

    June 1, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Lee is vastly overpaid and overrated. He’s a decent #2 starter, but on this staff he’s been our 4th best pitcher so far. He NEEDS to do better, and we (the fans) should demand better with the amount of money he’s earning.

  7. betasigmadeltashag

    June 1, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I too would have to agree that Hammels would get slammed for this start. Lee has these types of games, because everyone in the place knows he is going to throw strikes. My two cents is that one Zargouski is not major league ready, and I think it is silly to move KK back into the rotation, he has been filling a nice roll in the pen.
    But I regress, some of you may think this is stupid, but I really think one big turning points of this game was the top of the fourth. After a base hit, Ryan Howard had a 2-0 count, and swung a ball that even it stayed straight was a ground out waiting to happen. and topped a ball to the pitcher for a double play. He really needs to ge more selective at that point, especially down 5-0 and a count like that, if that pitch is not a pitch you can hit hard some where take a strike, or be happy with a walk and trust your team mates. I get swinging at that pitch with two strikes especially with the strike zone last night.
    But it is good to see Brown hit and I know I am probably the hardest on the kid in here, but I really want him to do well. And i think Mayberry, especially defensively in center field is going to be a keeper.
    All in all I do not put a lot into a game like this for Lee, It was a bad day, he had a string of them when he was here before, and he may have a few more in him. It does show the difference between him and Doc, Doc’s bad day is 4 maybe five runs in seven innings. Maybe the extra day off will help him before his next start.

  8. betasigmadeltashag

    June 1, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I do have to say at first I was slightly dissapointed that since I was am driving to Pittsburgh to see the Phillies from VT this weekend and find out it will be KK on the mound. But Phillies live is worth any trip is good trip. And from VT to PA on the 12th so GO PHILLIES

  9. Pat Gallen

    June 1, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Thats an interesting topic. Lee is never booed for some reason. I think yesterday would have been a time to do it, although even if it were a home game, it wouldn’t have happened. Rollins even deserves a boo now and again – it’s so frustrating to watch him weakly ground out to second base. He cant hit line drives.

  10. Manny

    June 1, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Lee needs to get his act together. A very poor start… and against the Zimmerman-less Nats. I wouldn’t boo him but I’d start thinking about it if this becomes a trend.

    J-roll has been equally bad. Again, no booing yet cause we’re still doing pretty damn well.. but if things get ugly, he should be one of the first in line.

    On a positive note, I absolutely LOVE Dom Brown hitting 7th and Mayberry 8th –and by default, Chooch hitting 6th. It makes our lineup so much more balanced. They are an amazing power/speed duo in the bottom of the lineup. Brown in the 7th spot is perfect for him to keep growing. I wonder what will happen when Shane comes back… Chooch back to 8th?

  11. Don M

    June 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

    When do the “trade Utley for Espinosa” people start commenting and calling sports radio?

    Lee left the ball high in the zone last night and that will get rocked every time…

    • Lefty

      June 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

      I believe Lee has been doing that for several starts now.

  12. RatBastardNJ

    June 1, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I have been also very disappointed with Lee’s performance this season and amazed how this 120 million dollar gets a free pass here on this site and by Philly phans everywhere. Ibanez and Blanton are probably are the favorite whipping boys on here but why not Cliff? I asked my wife (huge Phillies Phan too) last night the same questions and she responded “leave Cliffy alone, he will be fine!”. I guess Cliff, like Utley, has those “All-American” looks that make the ladies swoon and the men give more respect than others??

  13. joshpm

    June 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

    “The Nationals became the first team to score in double digits against the Phillies since a 12-11 win over the Rockies at Coors Field last Sept. 2, and emerged victorious over the Phillies by a score of 10-2.”

    –Haven’t we already lost a couple games in double digits this year?? I’m pretty sure we just fell to the mets 10-something not that long ago?

  14. TheDipsy

    June 1, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Manny – I love those two down there also. Some speed, some power, good D. Back to back jacks? Francisco to be optioned?

    The Dipsy

    • Manny

      June 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

      I just think we should keep both guys and Francisco. DL Gload or end the Martinez experiment.

      If they send back Brown to the minors, that would be simply stupid. The guy is starting to rake and is getting better and better every game –he definitely looks more comfortable and patient at the plate. Mayberry should stay too… the kid’s an athlete.

      • Lefty

        June 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm

        Agree 100 % with both of you.

        The athleticism shown by these two big fast guys far outweighs any shortcomings. They are keepers IMO. There was a coach I assisted one season. When cut down day came, he asked our opinions. But he always said, remember that we can teach them to hit, field, and throw- but we can’t teach them to be natural athletes.

  15. Lefty

    June 1, 2011 at 11:50 am

    O.T. If Ross Gload is hurt so badly that they have to run for him when he gets on, he needs to be DL’d. Almost every time he bats we use up two players. A runner or a defensive replacement.
    Not that losing KK running for him would have hurt us last night. It just seems there must be someone that can fill the primary PH slot for a while if he needs R&R. One of the kids from spring training, or even Mike Sweeney?

    • Manny

      June 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      Seriously. The guy can’t run and we need to pinch-run for him with a pitcher or one of our bench guys everytime he gets on base. I don’t like the idea of doing either. He can’t run.

      A whole different story would be if he’s getting extra-base hits or something…. but he’s not.

      Just DL him and activate him in a few weeks after he rests/stretches/undergoes some sort of treatment.

  16. Don M

    June 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    They don’t want to DL him because he can still swing the bat, he just can’t run well – not any different from Matt Stairs, etc. . . . burning a Kendrick, Hamels, etc as a substitute runner when Gload gets on is a way better scenario than simply NOT having a Lefty hitter off the bench.. and with no other legit options, that is why Gload will likely stay off the DL

    I think Mayberry goes down because he would benefit the most from playing everyday… and doesn’t have as much experience as a “4th outfielder” as Francisco – a role that he’s likely to have no matter who else is on the roster right now. Im starting to think that Mayberry is going to be our starting LF next year though, before I thought it would be Benny. There is no right or wrong answer as to who goes to AAA when Victorino returns, but its not going to be Brown … when you have 18 OFs, and only 2 backup infielders, its most likely going to be one of the OFs …again, Mayberry just makes the most sense. A “demotion” to AAA would probably serve him well playing everyday and working on things to keep developing

  17. Don M

    June 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    What happens if Gload goes to the DL… just read from Philly.com that he either plays through the muscle tear, or gets what would likely be Season-Ending surgery..

    Guys that hit LH, in AAA and AA include:

    Delwyn Young SwitchHitter(.240 avg, 6 HR, .398 SLG%, .674 OPS) – plays RF according to Ironpigs.com

    Jeff Larish (.240 avg, 10 HR, 500 SLG%, .829 OPS)- plays 1b

    Brandon Moss (.243 avg, 6 HR, .446 SLG%, .773 OPS) – plays RF

    Scott Podsednik …has only played 3 games so far but has a career .279 average, not much power but career On Base % of .340 … .721 OPS

    Down in AA:
    Matt Rizotti ….(324 avg, 9 HR, .574 SLG%, .977 OPS) plays 1b
    Steve Susdorf.. (.323 avg, 4 HR, .500SLG %, .916 OPS) play LF

  18. KB

    June 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Depending on how much faith you put into Fangraphs’ WAR, Lee was the second best pitcher in the National League coming into the game. He has now dropped to 7th, but a good 7th nonetheless. In fact, 8th is rather distant. Indeed, Lee hasn’t pitched very efficiently thus far, but do remember his BABIP is still very high. If we assume it will come down to a more reasonible number, the amount of hits (and therefore runs) will decrease before too long.

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