2014 Game Recaps

Lee Rebounds, Utley Homers in 2-0 Win Over Cubs

Chase Utley hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs (Andrew A. Nelles/AP).

Cliff Lee certainly rebounded from his poor Opening Day Start.  The left-hander threw seven shutout innings, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Lee came off one of the worst starts of his career when he surrendered eight runs in five innings against the Texas Rangers.  Five days later, that start can be forgotten.  Lee did allow ten hits, but escaped any potential jam as the Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.  Lee struck out six and did not walk a batter.

Chase Utley quickly put the Phillies on the board with a solo home run in the first inning. Cubs’ starter Jeff Samardzija made the mistake of throwing a fastball down the middle, and Utley took advantage.  He crushed the ball through the wind and into the right field bleachers.  Utley later scored in the fourth inninng off Domonic Brown’s RBI single that put the Phillies up 2-0.

Utley also added his 300th career double in the eighth inning.  Utley has started the 2014 season on the right foot, going 7-for-18 in this first week of the season.

Similar to Lee, Jonathan Papelbon needed a chance to rebound.  Papelbon has been the recipient of criticism after he blew a save against the Texas Rangers.  He avoided additional criticism with Saturday’s 1-2-3 save.  He struck out one in the process of securing the 2-0 win.

The Phillies didn’t require a whole lot of offense today with Lee’s performance.  Utley provided the blast, and that was all the Phillies needed.  The Phillies will go for their first sweep of the 2014 season, as A.J. Burnett will make the start tomorrow against the Cubs.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. mudmin

    April 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Random question. Phillies.com lists the game as being won by Lee, Cl. Do we have another Lee on the roster that I don’t know about?

    Did Travis come back in Bowa’s suticase?

  2. mudmin

    April 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I gave him crap after the blown save. I’m not saying he’s back, but I’ll give him praise after the 1-2-3. Job well done, Paps.

  3. Alex

    April 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Where’s all that talk about Utley now?

    • Vinnie

      April 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      Agreed, so much for the bad spring training batting average.

      • Vinnie

        April 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm

        Oh… and i also give some credit to Dom Brown, he looks good too.

  4. DavidE

    April 5, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Season is starting out pretty well. The Phillies look better than they were projected to be. They have outscored their opponents by 9 runs on the road. After a shaky performance in Texas, the bullpen has put up 5.1 scoreless innings in Chicago. Obviously, there are a lot of questions about this team but they might be up to the challenge.

  5. Lefty

    April 6, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Always love a win! Had to watch the DVR later last evening, and except for the Chicago announcers on the feed I get here, it’s always fun to watch a win.

    While yesterday’s results for Papelbon were great, but I’m still very guarded in my belief in his ability to consistently get the job done. The underlying problems that we’ve watched develop the last two years are still there.

    Right now he’s still a fireballer without the fire. Fangraphs hasn’t posted official pitch velocities for his inning Saturday at the time of this comment, but it didn’t look to me like was blowing the Cubs away with mid 90’s heat. And you can get away with that if you have pinpoint command, but he doesn’t have that either. He’s still struggling to hit targets. He had Nieves guessing and jumping all over the place. No sale, not yet anyway. Go Phils

    • Chuck A.

      April 6, 2014 at 6:47 am

      Listened to the last inning on the radio in the car and, judging by some of their comments and the tones of their voices at times, I would say that Franzke and L.A. felt the same way. I think all of us are plenty skeptical at this point.

    • Keystone

      April 6, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I watched every pitch of Papelbon’s in the 9th and his fastballs sat between 88mph – 90mph. The one time he hit 91 You could hear the sarcasm in Tom McCarthy’s voice say that one at 91. This lack of velocity will not work this season for a pitcher like Papelbon.

      • Hogey's Role

        April 6, 2014 at 11:19 am

        I watched the whole game yesterday, cubs feed so that sucked…. But I watched papelbon in the ninth and even though his velocity sat at that 88-91 range it looked like it had more zip than that, idk if maybe it had some late life to it yesterday but it looked like it was coming a little harder to me than that game against Texas….
        Apparently he was also quoted after the game as saying he’s gotta work at becoming more of a pitcher than a thrower, which is undoubtedly true, but if the radar guns are correct he’s lost quite a bit on that fastball and I find it hard to believe it’s just age…. Maybe he should try working on another pitch to go with the fastball and split as well

    • Lefty

      April 6, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thanks to both of you. Being stuck with the Chicago Cubs feed, I was wondering what our local guys were saying about it. It’s especially tough to get our (or any home team’s) commentators to tell it like it is, because they work directly for the team. This time it sounds like they agree with us, and that they’re being allowed to speak their minds. Don’t know what that means in the long run for the team and Papelbon, but it’s good to hear anyway.

  6. Phillies Fan from Germany

    April 6, 2014 at 3:59 am

    Amanda, the 7-18 is from before yesterday. Utley is now 10-21. his slashline is now .476/.522/.857. Amazing, isn’t it?

  7. J.L.

    April 6, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I knew sandberg and bowa would get them to overachieve.

  8. bacardipr

    April 6, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Its only a few games cant say anyone is overachieving just yet

    • schmenkman

      April 6, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Couldn’t agree more, and on top of that if they do play better than expected I would be a lot more inclined to credit the players than the manager and coaches.

  9. Ken Bland

    April 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

    As we look ahead to Sunday afternoon’s shopper’s special of brooms on sale and entrenching the 100 year tradition of Cubs Park with the only result that seems appropriate to continue….

    5 games in, whoever’s managing this club, be it Sandberg, or Sandberg and Bowa, talk is spreading of the use of the bench. All good, all well, and all important. And while the prior regime is as historic as the Phillies of a way back in time as the present and future are what it’s about, there’s the natural comparison of Charlie’s tendency and reputation to scarcely use a bench (a Phillie front office type was quoted about 2 years ago, maybe 3 as saying why should we acquire depth, the manager doesn’t use it” *, there’s a reaction to that that yearns to come out of me that isn’t exactly defense of the previous regime.

    The basic core was younger when he did that. Which is important in and of itself, and the winning results spoke for themselves. But amiss in the pro Sandberg mixes is the simple fact that, particularly last year, Charlie did quite a bit more of that than in the winning years. It’s objective to separate Charlie’s years as manager from the good clubs versus the last 2 years.

    But the real point intended here is considering Ryno’s good intentions in using the bench, which I’m fully in favor of, I am hoping he stays the course with today’s lineup. I dread the thought of his giving Chase the day off against a hardly successful righty (not that I’d care if he was lefty), and Chase is the hottest hitter in the game not named Blackmon. Plus, I don’t know that you can actually strategize around this, but the game tomorrow is largely likely (nice consecutivity…largely likely…that’s pretty good) to be washed out.

    Play The Man, Skip. Play ’em all. Get the sweep, and even if one don’t have nothing to do with the other, leave Chicago wondering why in hell they didn’t hire you to manage the Cub club.

    *paraphrased quote. But, oh, so close to verbatim

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