Lee Stifles Cubs as Utley Finds a Groove – Phillies Nation
2011 Game Recaps

Lee Stifles Cubs as Utley Finds a Groove

The Phillies offense started fast and never looked back. Cliff Lee did the same.

Chase Utley drove in four runs, launching his second home run of the season in the eighth inning in the Phillies 7-1 win. In the first inning, Utley roped a double to left-center field to score Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino. And that was all they’d need as Cliff Lee continued to kill it.

Lee became the NL leader in strikeouts, passing teammate Roy Halladay with seven today, giving him 107 on the season. In eight innings Lee gave up just four hits and walked a pair for his sixth victory of the year. Several times he overpowered the “minor-league” Cubs lineup.

That’s now 14 runs in two games for the Phils, a sudden turnaround that was unforeseen. Maybe it was the full compliment of players finally getting used being together, or perhaps it was Charlie Manuel’s decision to insert Placido Polanco in the five-hole. Either way, the Phillies are starting to show signs of life after nearly a full month of agony.

Victorino notched three hits and drove in a run, as did Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard. But the big winner today was Utley. His 2-for-4 day pushed his average to .242, the highest it has been this year. The quick bat we’ve become accustomed to for the better part of a decade was back for a day, but can he bring it out on a night-to-night basis? We shall see.

It’s also exciting to see Lee rounding into form after some shaky early season starts. Many were beginning to question whether the right move was made in bringing him back at such a high price, but he’s starting to make everyone remember the Cliff Lee we fell in love with. His game score of 75 on Saturday was the third highest for him this season.

One downer – the Phils were 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base, so the total could have been much higher against Cubs starter Matt Garza. He walked three and gave up five hits in six innings, but actually finished with a quality start. The Phillies did their damage against relievers Sean Marshall and Casey Coleman.

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  1. Brooks

    June 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Probably the best overall offensive preformance I have seen all year so far by this team. Timely hits a little power and oh yea, a lot of Utley.

    Great performance by Lee

  2. Andrew From Waldorf

    June 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    A lot of it is the Cubs are really really bad.

    But you can only beat the teams you play.
    You have the best record in the league

    The 4 game series with the Marlins will say alot about everything.

  3. bacardipr05

    June 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    The offense has potential to be a decent offense if everyone plays up to par an close to their career numbers. With possibly the exception of Ibanez who will sputter along with occasional spikes. Unfortunately with the exception of Polly no one up this point is playing up their potential as far as offense is concerned. Technically Ruiz is about right last year was just a break out year for him. The others not so much Shane is close to that area. I hope Howard comes around as he is so vital to the Phils success. So is Utley these two are the main Hombres. I really wish we could get that other bat in the outfield.

    • Bruce

      June 12, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Cheer up bacardipr05 (chuckles). Charlie’s position players are all back in fold after so many injuries. With the exception of the catcher, Brian Schneider (still on the DL), the manager has more and better options to kickstart the offense such as putting Polanco in the 5th spot of the lineup yesterday.

      There is also definite signs of Utley finally getting his timing down with his stroke as evident by his 4 RBIs explosion (including a HR) in today’s game. Rollins is hitting line drives; Victorino with 3 more hits as his BA is heading toward .290 level. Howard with another clutch RBI hit giving him 50 and among leaders in that category. Brown showing promise of being an offensive threat. And you say Ibanez’s hitting ”will sputter along with occasional spikes”? Since snapping an 0-for-35 skid on May 3, Ibanez is batting .317 (44 for 139) . Not bad for Raul who has been described by his detractors on this site as “too old..too slow..can’t hit anymore..” LOL

  4. bacardipr05

    June 12, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Got ya Bruce you have some valid points…

  5. Mike from VA

    June 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Just a question to all of Phillies Nation. Whats your prediction for the Phillies lineup at the end of the year? Include BA, HR, RBI, OPS. Because all of these Sabremetrics are based on the past, w/o a 100 percent Utley.

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