The Phillies, looking to salvage at least one game of the opening series with the Atlanta Braves, sent Cliff Lee to the mound Thursday evening looking for their first win of the season. Lee, whose struggles with a subpar and relatively meaningless win-loss percentage in 2012 are well documented, was perhaps wondering how long it would take for him to get his first win of the season…or he probably wasn’t.
Well, as it turns out, he doesn’t have to wonder anymore. Lee was nothing short of brilliant, throwing eight shutout innings against the Braves. It was a typical "good" Cliff Lee outing. He threw 106 pitches in those eight innings, an astounding 78 of them for strikes. He didn’t walk a single Braves batter, and struck out eight of them. No Braves players made it past first base the entire evening.
The offense was not at its best against Atlanta starter Kris Medlen, but then, it didn’t really need to be with the way Lee was pitching. Jimmy Rollins, although he did not score or drive in a run, paced the Philadelphia offense, reaching base three times on a walk, a single and a double and stealing a base. Chase Utley continued his hot start as well, adding a single and a walk and driving in a run on a sacrifice fly. On another note, Ben Revere made another start in the leadoff spot, with Rollins again hitting behind him. Of course, it’s only game three of 162, and I imagine we’ll see Jimmy in his usual spot sometime in the near future, but it might be interesting to watch how having Revere lead off changes the dynamic of the Phillies lineup. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Only time will tell.
Friday, the Phillies return to Philadelphia for their home opener against the Kansas City Royals at Citizens’ Bank Park. Kyle Kendrick gets the start against erstwhile Tampa Bay pitcher Wade Davis. Interleague play in April, guys! Christmas has come early! Hooray for Bud Selig!
As a sidenote, the Tomahawk Chop comes through exceptionally well on the radio, and it hurts my soul.
Fangraph of RainbowDashWinning.jpeg