For a long time, it seemed like the Phillies were going to lose tonight, and then, just like that, they didn’t.
A quick swing of Cody Asche’s bat, and a great effort from Cliff Lee, and the Phils found themselves a 2-1 victory over the first place Braves.
OUR HERO, CODY ASCHE
– For a long time, it looked bleak tonight. Not much happened. Mike Minor was in control, and the Phils were his obeyers, looking like they’d go quietly into the night. they didn’t even get a hit until the fourth inning. And when that first came off the bat of Jimmy Rollins, he got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. They’d get just one hit in four innings after that. And then a hero came along. A brash youngster, full of talent and expectations. It took Cody Asche to turn things around.
– Asche came to the plate in the seventh with two outs and a runner on first. Darin Ruf had singled before him to keep the inning alive, but it still appeared like Minor, facing the left-handed Asche, could see his way out of the inning with the lead intact. But Asche had other ideas. He came to the plate looking for a fastball, and when Minor gave him one on the first pitch of the at-bat, he didn’t miss it. The home run gave the Phillies the lead, and a cruising Cliff Lee didn’t waste it. Lee wouldn’t waste it.
-The absolute worst aspect of watching a bad offense is when it is squandering a great effort by the starter. Cliff Lee was victimized by the floundering bats for the first six innings tonight. He surrendered his first and only run when Andrelton Simmons sent one into the seats in left in the third. And that was it. At one point, Lee retired thirteen batters in a row. He was pitching brilliantly, and there’s no two ways about it. It was a pitcher’s duel all the way, and Lee more than held up his end. After Asche’s home run,
– Dominant is pretty much the only way to describe Lee tonight. He struck out ten and didn’t walk a single batter. He completely owned the Braves tonight.
HERNANDEZ CONTINUES TO IMPRESS IN CENTER
– I’ll tell ya, for having never played center field before a few weeks ago, Cesar Hernandez has sure taken to it. He made a few nice plays again tonight. I’ve been most impressed by his closing speed. Though he sometimes gets a bad jump (though he usually doesn’t, quite surprisingly), he’s been able to make up for it by running a good route and using his speed. The kid may have a future as a super utility man, and the Phillies are in need of a backup centerfielder who can contribute more at the plate. At the very least, Hernandez’s emergence in the outfield gives the team more options going forward.