Tomahawk Chop That, Chipper!

6 Sep

OK, I had to get that out of my system.  I’m assuming you all saw or heard Chipper Jones‘ (more commonly known as               “La-a-a-a-ry” to Phillies fans) comments.  In case you didn’t he said that the Braves would have the best chance to beat the Phillies in a post season series:

“We’ve beaten their big three…we’re not scared of them.  It’s going to be a knock down, drag out [fight.]”

I think you mean knock-out, Laaaaarry.  And that’s certainly what the Phillies delivered to Jones (who had to sit the game out due to flu-like symptoms) and his Braves last night.  The Phillies beat their eastern division rivals in a 9 -0 blowout at a rainy Citizens Bank Park.  But the rain certainly didn’t dampen the raucous crowd’s enthusiasm or the Phils’ bats.

Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence each had two hits including a home run for Howard, his 31st, and a  triple for Utley.  Pence, continuing his torrid hitting since joining the Phillies, drove in 3 runs bringing his RBI total to 82.

But despite all the offensive firepower, this night clearly belonged to Cliff Lee.  It’s hard to believe now that early in the season, Lee was a distant third to teammates Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay in most every pitching category including wins and ERA. Well, not any more.  Here are some highlights from last night’s dominating performance:

Cliff Notes

It only took Lee 100 pitches (and one piece of very-chewed gum) to beat the Braves last night.

It was Lee‘s 6th shut-out of the season, the most for a Phillie since Steve Carlton had 6 in 1982.

Lee has not allowed a run since the second inning of a start against the Diamondbacks on August 17th.  That’s 29 2/3 innings without giving up a run.

He recorded his 200th strike-out in the second inning last night against the Braves’ Freddie Freeman.  It is the first 200-strikeout season of Lee‘s career.

Last night was Lee‘s 16th win tying him with Roy Halladay for the team lead in wins and believe it or not, his 2.47 ERA edges out Halladay‘s at 2.49.

And, oh yeah, Lee got a base hit off a pitcher throwing 97 mph (Braves’ reliever Arodys Vizcaino) just to top things off.   By the way, that hit was his 14th which leads all Phillies pitchers.

While I usually try not to dwell on just stats in this blog, these numbers have to be seen to be believed.  With this win the Phillies increase their lead over the Braves to 8 1/2 games and their magic number to clinch the division is down to 16.

And what did Phillies manager Charlie Manuel have to say about Lee‘s night?

“I think the more he pitches in this league, he learns the hitters a lot better.  I think that helps him…The more he pitches… the better he should become and he is.”

You think?

Just ask Chipper Jones.

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