One hundred ten pitches. Nine strikeouts. No walks. Five hits. Two runs. Cliff Lee.
Tonight's offense included doubles of an unusual sort from Michael Young -- they did not include "play" at the end. Ben Revere started a rally with an excellent bunt hit and a fabulous read and run on one of Michael Young's doubles. Kevin Frandsen bailed out Domonic Brown and Delmon Young, who both whiffed with the bases loaded with nobody out in the sixth inning when he singled in the two runs that made the margin of victory in the game. Ryan Howard hit a STAND UP TRIPLE. But...Cliff Lee. During a year when the Phillies have left my 11 year old kid crying on a bunch of nights...Cliff Lee. He makes it fun to watch baseball again.
He was magnificent. Sure, he gave up two homers, but they were in situations where nobody was on base, because, y'know, he doesn't walk anyone. He singled in the fifth, but Delmon Young was thrown out at the plate following a bad decision to send him by Sendberg. (H/T Pat Gallon via Joecatz). He had good at bats. He made some hitters look silly (Ryan Zimmerman's strikeout in the 6th was a beauty). It was classic, epic Cliff Lee.
Jayson Werth had a homer. Good for you, WFC. Enjoy your empty night of losing stat-padding. Yeah. Take that. And shave.
Jonathan Papelbon came in to save the game in the 9th with Lee at 110 pitches, but it was ok, since the win expectancy was at 93%. Charlie Manuel did the right things by subbing in defensive players (Freddy Galvis and John Mayberry) at appropriate points in the game. Papelbon did his usual baboonish fist-pumping schtick.
One of the real saving graces of this year is, if the Phillies continue to be kind of out of it, that Papelbon is likely to be traded. While he is useful, he is aesthetically unacceptable in my world. I would not be unhappy to see him go. But the Nats lost and the Braves lost *twice*. Who said the Mets were worthless? Maybe Amaro could trade Paps for a useful outfielder like Nate Schierholtz. I wonder what team might have to do to get a good player like that.
Best feel-good at-bat of the night? Delmon Young getting hit by a pitch. All possible good outcomes occurred there.
Cringeworthy Wheels quote of the night? Discussing Mick Jagger's athleticism. Just...yuck.
Fangraph of Destiny: