Cliff Lee needed to be great today and he certainly was that. The only problem, Clayton Kershaw was pretty awesome, as well. The two dueled until they could duel no more, but in the end Lee got yet another no-decision in the 5-3 loss.
LEE v. KERSHAW
-Let’s start with Lee, who was as efficient as ever. After eight innings, he was pulled for a pinch hitter, but could have easily gone 12 or 13 frames today. Over the eight, he allowed just two hits, one run, and struck out four while walking one. Sixty-four of his 89 pitches went for strikes. About as good as can be.
-According to ESPN Stats, Lee received less than two runs of support for the 8th time in 16 starts. That’s just the kind of season he’s going through.
-Clayton Kershaw showed why he’s a Cy Young winner, too. It took him 120 pitches, but he also worked eight innings, allowing just one run. Kershaw fanned seven and left with a no-decision as well.
-It may not have ended the way Phillies fans wanted it to, but either way it was a hell of a pitching matchup. Just went the wrong way.
-The Phillies had a golden opportunity in the ninth after finally getting rid of Kershaw. They had Kenley Jansen on the ropes, loading the bases on a Ryan Howard single and walks by Placido Polanco and John Mayberry Jr., all with two outs. Jason Pridie hit for Lee, but flied out softly to left field to end the threat.
-Wild ninth for the pen. Kyle Kendrick had a tough job in front of him: retire Matt Kemp with one on and one out. He did that, striking out the all-star. Unfortunately, Jeremy Horst couldn’t do the same with Andre Ethier. Horst allowed Ethier to single to right field, putting runners at the corners with two outs. Michael Schwimer walked Jerry Hairston and it came down to James Loney vs. Schwimer and Schwim won. He got Loney to chase a nasty 2-2 slider, ending the threat. What an inning.
-RE: Schwimer – perhaps that’s the sort of at-bat that kicks him in the rear end. I’ve always thought Scwhimer could be a very good relief pitcher, as he cruised through the minors. Maybe this is the one that pushes him one step close to that.
10th INNING – PENCE CLUTCH AGAIN, PAPELBON BLOWS THE SAVE
-Let’s hear it for Hunter Pence. He came through again with a huge, two-run single in the tenth inning, putting the Phillies up 3-1. I, among many others, have killed him for his inability to come through in the clutch. That’s back-to-back games with clutch hits for Pence.
– Jonathan Papelbon couldn’t close the deal in the bottom of the tenth, as he quickly got into jam. Bobby Abreu’s RBI single put the Dodgers within one. Papelbon struck out Mark Ellis for the second out, but Matt Kemp followed with a game-tying single.
Kemp grounded to Rollins, who made a terrific back-handed play. It appeared as if the web gem would end the game, but Kemp barely beat out the throw. The bang-bang play created some arguments from the Phillies’ side, but the replay showed that Kemp just beat the throw by an inch. On the play, Abreu scored to even the score at three. Papelbon would then get Andre Either to fly out to end the inning.
12th INNING- KEMP WALKS IT OFF
-The Phillies had a perfect opportunity to score with two men on and nobody out, but could not capitalize. The lineup collectively left 12 men on base today.
-Kemp launched Jake Diekman’s fastball into the right-centerfield bleachers. Kemp’s two-run shot gave the Dodgers a 5-3 victory, ending the Phillies’ four game winning streak. The Phillies bullpen battled in extra innings, but Kemp found a way to come through.