Lee's Bat and Arm Send Phillies Off with 10-4 Win – Phillies Nation
2011 Game Recaps

Lee's Bat and Arm Send Phillies Off with 10-4 Win

—Citizens Bank Park

It was all Cliff Lee on Thursday for the Phillies (PHOTO: Philly.com)

Tired, bruised, battered, the Phillies were all of that. Yet, they didn’t let a little 19-inning game derail them from taking three of four from the Cincinnati Reds, winning going away on Thursday afternoon, 10-4.

For weeks, offensive production was lacking. Today, that was not the case as winning pitcher Cliff Lee knocked in three runs to help his own cause. The three runs were huge, too, as Lee struggled on a very warm day, giving up 10 hits and three runs in eight innings. As usual, Lee kept his pitch count low, and as usual, did enough to keep the Phillies in it to win it. They did just that.

For once, it wasn’t about the left arm of Cliff Lee, rather, the left-handed approach at the plate. It shouldn’t surprise you that Cliff Lee can hold his own with a bat – all of the Phillies starters are partaking in a contest to see who can hit the first home run. Lee nearly won the damn thing with a ground-rule double to dead center field that appeared to be aided by what Charlie Manuel calls “hittin’ weather.” With that sweet stroke, a 4-4, sixth-inning tie became a 6-4 Phillies advantage; one which they would never look back on.

Is it surprising? Not to Charlie Manuel.

“He likes to hit and he wants to be a good hitter,” Manuel said postgame. “When he gets in BP he likes to see how far he can hit the ball. He takes a very aggressive cut.”

Lee isn’t just about going out to the hill and letting his teammates do the rest. He wants to provide himself runs. That was part of the reason the Phillies were such an intriguing option this past offseason.

“That’s one of the reasons I came here [to the National League],” said Lee. “It makes you feel like a more of a baseball player than just a pitcher. I take that part seriously.”

For a time, one may have believed Lee’s teammates weren’t taking hitting as seriously as they should. Falling into a wicked team-wide slump, the Reds may have provided them a spark. With a 10-spot to start and finish the four-game series, the Phillies can almost forget about how awful May was as they near the start of June – beginning with a nine-game road trip against some lousy opponents.

As for Thursday’s matinee, the ball was certainly flying, as it so often does in South Philly when the weather heats up. Raul Ibanez mashed his sixth home run of the season, a three-run jack to right field, which gave Lee a nice four-run cushion to work with after just three innings.

Lee would relinquish that lead and be forced to get it back himself. Reds shortstop Paul Janish sent home two with a single in the fourth and newest Phillie killer Jay Bruce creamed a cutter that tailed too far over the plate for his league-leading 14th home run in the sixth. Add Bruce to the list with guys who make life miserable at Citizens Bank Park, like Matt Diaz, Chipper Jones, Rod Barajas, and Martin Prado have in recent years.

Bruce hit a robust .429 in the series, but today, Cliff Lee hit .500 with three RBI.

With the game in hand for the Phils, Chase Utley got in on the fun in the eighth inning, lofting what looked to be a fly ball that just entered the first row in right field, an estimated 350 feet from home plate. His struggles at the plate are to be expected, as this is still Utley’s spring training, in a sense. The home run is at least a positive change moving forward.

Utley was also one of the fresher Phillies after Wednesday night’s/Thursday morning’s 19-inning, six-hour, 11 minute slumber party. Manuel gave Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, and Carlos Ruiz a day off and they didn’t skip a beat.

Ibanez didn’t have the opportunity to rest his 39-year old body, but he didn’t mind. On the ride to the park this morning, Ibanez hoped he’d be in the lineup after just four hours sleep. “You have to ignore what your body is telling you,” Ibanez said after 28 innings in under 24 hours. Ryan Howard said he too was pretty whipped, but knew he’d be on the lineup card.

“I just tried to mentally find a happy place and get ready to play.”

Right now, the Phillies are in the happiest of places – first place in the NL East at 31-19. If the offense can continue this recent onslaught of runs, that win total will continue to climb.

There is no rest for the weary, either. They might be tired, beat down, and ready for a reprieve – but they won’t get it. Tomorrow night is the start of a nine-game road trip through New York, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh.

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  1. Lefty

    May 26, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for the great wrap up Pat, I had to listen to most of it on the radio, but plan to watch replay tonight. Sounds like Lee got a well deserved win after some tough luck losses, one with 16 K’s comes to mind.

    I’m guessing that Jay Bruce had all winter to stew over that silly error he lost in the lights in the NLDS, waiting for his chance at redemption.

  2. PhilliesPhan in Savannah

    May 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    I think Lee had fun today. Hitting, stealing a base and of course winning the game!! I think today was why he wanted to play here, he really enjoys playing the game!! You did good
    Phillies….keep up the good work!!!

  3. Brooks

    May 26, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Excellent Pat.

    Nice way to wind up a tough series at home taking 3 of 4 from the Reds, expecially after the ugliness of 19 innings. Whether its Raul or Ryan, Jimmy, Vic or Chase, we know that any one of them can bust some runs for us. Choochie comes through for us once in a while and perhaps Brown will join the hit parade. I’m thinking (OK hoping) that this road trip will continue to be hot and the bats will wreak havok over the next 9.

    How about 7-2 on this road trip? The pitching is our staple – when the Phils hit, we win big.

  4. Pat Gallen

    May 26, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Brooks, thanks –

    A good road trip is obviously a possibility against 3 inferior teams. I dont see why 6-3 isn’t doable.

  5. bacardipr05

    May 27, 2011 at 2:06 am

    Lee look like he was having fun good for him. If it wasnt for that dam Bruce messing it up he would have a great pitching effort. I hope we can carry the momentum our team is streaky with the bats. If we can get at least two of them streaky( am injury free) at any given time we will do well.

  6. bacardipr05

    May 27, 2011 at 2:39 am

    I just want to add JC should be sent down. Despite the pick off throw i would have Valdez or my sister in there at least maybe she can get a strike. When an if Lidge comes back someone might have to go i feel it should be JC. He simply cannot be trusted unless he comes in with 2 outs an 4 run lead an its the pitcher hitting.

  7. TheDipsy

    May 27, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Yeah, I think we’re gonna have to replace Ol J.C.

    The Dipsy

  8. Pat Gallen

    May 27, 2011 at 8:59 am

    They’ll have to take a good hard look at JC once Lidge is ready. It doesn’t even matter if he’s a lefty, people keep saying they need 2. He can’t get anyone out, so what’s it matter what hand he throws with?

  9. Don M

    May 27, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Maybe we can WIN the series in Pittsburgh this year??

    • Brian Michael

      May 27, 2011 at 11:48 am

      God, I hope so. We drop 2 of 3 every year in Pitt. I’m tired of traveling out there and watching them lose to a terrible team. Nice park, though….

      • Don M

        May 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm

        I’m going out for the Saturday game (mom’s family is from Pittsburgh)… I was there in 2004 or something for a game vs. Houston – and LOVED everything about that park.

        I think it might be my favorite in baseball, and i’ve been to Fenway, Wrigley, Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, and whatever San Francisco’s park is called ?

        I think Pittsburgh has the coolest views and its still got a great, small feel to it.. Makes me think how awesome the Phillies stadium could be if it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere – BUT… then there wouldn’t be the tailgate crowd – which is something pretty cool too

  10. TheDipsy

    May 27, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I don’t think Lidge will be effective. Here is my thesis: Lets assume that he can come back and be 80% of the pitcher he was last year.

    I think we can all agree that in the ninth inning, in a save situation, the losing teams’ hitters become much less selective and will chase a bit. Closers take advantage of this by throwing their “out” pitches out of the strike zone and have the hitters swing. Lidge has made a career out of it. If Lidge goes to the sixth or seventh inning, I don’t think any hitter will swing at the slider in the dirt beacuse the urgency to score is not there. This means Lidge will have to throw more strikes. Thats bad news. With his fastball all but gone, he’s gonna have to spot it better than he ever has in his whole life and he’s gonna have to real throw that baby slider more and more. If he hangs either pitch just a little bit, it bounces off the bricks in center. I hope I’m wrong.

    The Dipsy

  11. Dr. Dave

    May 27, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I have to tip my cap to Danys Baez! I have been down him in the past. But 5 innings of shutout relief is amazing! An outstanding performance.

    Valdez or Ruth? I’ll take Ruth. Of course someone will point out that Ruth has nothing left.

    J.C. Romero is done. It is only a matter of time until he is released. Right now, he should only be sent out there in lost causes or as last available.

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