No one felt more “freed” on America’s Independence Day than one Clifton Phifer Lee because yesterday he finally got what he (and we) have been waiting for all year, win number one. Let me say that again, win number one.
And appropriately on this July 4th, there were plenty of fireworks courtesy of Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz who hit back-to-back home runs to give the Phillies the lead in the 7th. It’s the second time the two have gone back to back since Chase’s return to the line-up. Ty Wigginton also hit a two-run shot to put the game away in the ninth.
Although the final score was 9-2, this one wasn’t a laugher since all the Phillies runs came in the last three innings. Lee had to pitch a strong game to keep his team in it until those bats woke up and he did. He allowed seven hits, two runs, one walk, one home run and struck out nine looking a lot like the Cliff Lee of old. You remember him. The guy who finished third in National League Cy Young voting last year.
So, is the curse broken?
Will the return of Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay after the All-Star Break spur the Phillies on to a great second half?
Does this team still have a run left in them?
Who the heck knows?
What I do know is that yesterday was a badly needed win for this team and for Cliff Lee. If the Phillies are to get back in this race, we’ll need to see a lot more of that Cliff Lee and a lot more fireworks.
A lot more.