Cliff Lee Takes Over In Game One

29 Jun

It was the most anticipated series of this baseball season,

a match-up billed as a World Series preview,

the best hitting team in baseball squaring off against the best starting rotation.

And, though both the Phillies and the Red Sox did all they could to downplay the significance of three games in June, the teams took the field last night to a play-off like atmosphere.

In front of an electric sell-out crowd of 45,000 plus at Citizens Bank Park, the Philadelphia Phillies shut out the Boston Red Sox  5-0 and Cliff Lee did everything but sell the programs.  From the first pitch Lee had complete control of the crowd, the Red Sox and his curve ball.

He went the distance, allowing the Sox only two hits.  It was the third consecutive shut-out for the Phils’ left-hander which puts him in some pretty rare company.  The only other Phillies pitcher to throw three consecutive shut-outs was Hall of Famer Robin Roberts in 1950.

With his recent dominance it’s easy to forget that Lee’s heralded return to the Phillies did not get off to the best start.  After some early struggles, Lee was a disappointing 4-5 at the end of May.  He had been hit, and hit hard, on several occasions giving up more runs and more walks than his norm.  Many analysts and fans were already calling the much-hyped free agent acquisition a major and expensive misstep.

Not anymore.


Last night’s win concluded a month of June for Lee that has been nothing short of spectacular. He is 5-0, including three shut-outs.  He has pitched 42 of a possible 45 innings.  During this stretch, Lee has given up 21 hits and only one earned run with 29 strikeouts and 8 walks.

His ERA for the month of June is a jaw-dropping 0.21.  And he increased his scoreless innings streak to 32 and counting.

Lee was treated to ovation after ovation last night by the appreciative crowd.  They cheered him for everything from running hard to first on a ground ball to his sacrifice fly RBI.  He even received a standing ovation after giving up his first hit in the 6th.

But Lee did not do it alone.  Phils’ rookie right fielder Domonic Brown, who ironically was booed loudly on Saturday for not running hard to first on a ground ball, was treated to cheers from the crowd last night after his 2-run blast off Josh Beckett in the second gave Lee and the Phils the early lead.

As it turned out, that was all the help Lee needed.  The 2-run shot by Shane Victorino and Lee’s sacrifice fly RBI were just icing on this special night.

And for the Phillies and their fans, this was a special night

No, it may not have been a World Series preview and it is just a series in June but Cliff Lee‘s performance last night was one to remember.

And in a week where the Phillies lost one of their four aces to injury and had to put their thirdcloser on the DL, Lee’s heroics couldn’t have come at a better time.

I wonder what they’ll do for an encore tonight?


4 Responses to “Cliff Lee Takes Over In Game One”

  1. geetie June 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Another win would be nice ! Or am I being too greedy?
    PS In my house Robin Roberts was referred to as Sir Robin.

  2. Wendy Branzburg June 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    How about Lee’s first pitch in the top of the 9th? I’ve never seen a sinker drop that fast at the last minute. Let’s not forget that Cliff Lee is here partly and most importantly because his wife is a true “girl’s best phriend” and wanted to come back to Philadelphia!

    • girlsbestphriend June 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      That pitch was amazing. It fooled the batter, chooch and the ump! And great point about his wife. We should all be thanking her!

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