Tonight's game played out eerily like last night's game. A shaky starter allowed a clump of runs early on. The Phillies bats stayed quiet against a questionable starter, only to come alive late in the game against the bullpen. A home run allowed by Jake Diekman was an obstacle that last night's rally could not overcome. But tonight, the bats backed up Cliff Lee's less-than-stellar start, and the bullpen held the lead for a 6-5 win over the Diamondbacks.
Cliff Lee's troubles started when I said this in the game thread:
Let's see if Cliff Lee can continue his streak of utterly awesome starts. I bet he can.
GOOD GOING, ME.
As for the actual baseball, Cliff Lee's night didn't start off well. The D-backs scored two runs in the first inning, and though only one was earned, it was clear that Lee wasn't his usual zone pounding strikeout happy self. Six of the first ten batters he faced had a hit. He didn't get his first strikeout until the last out of the third inning, and he only had two total on the night. He even walked two batters, which doubled his total for the year. That's insane. Lee finally figured things out his third time through the batting order, and there was a point where he'd retired 10 D-backs in a row, but by then the D-backs had scored five runs.
Lee was done after six innings, so the bullpen had to go to work. And work they did. Jeff Manship, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams, and Jonathan Papelbon combined to pitched three scoreless innings, in total allowing just two hits and one walk. Papelbon has been mowing 'em down since that blown save on April 2. Since that game, he's pitched nine scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and two walks. And seven strikeouts to boot. Tonight, a challenge in the bottom of the ninth didn't go the D-backs way, getting Papelbon that very important first out of the inning. Two batters later it was over. Hey, I may think Papelbon is a turd, but that doesn't mean I can't admit when he's pitching well, and that's what he's been doing lately.
The Phillies have faced Bronson Arroyo plenty over his career, and he's is a pitcher the Phillies used to have tremendous success against. But not so much lately, and definitely not tonight. Arroyo had an ERA of 9.50 coming into tonight's game. He lowered it almost two whole runs after going 6 1/3 innings and allowing just two runs, both of which scored after he left the game and was replaced by Joe Thatcher. The Phillies had almost no luck against Arroyo. They didn't start doing real damage until the relievers came in. After scoring two in the seventh inning, the Phillies chipped away at the D-backs for four runs in the eighth, finally getting (holding) the lead. Of note: pinch hitter Cody Asche hit a double to tie the game.
There are two batters that should be mentioned tonight. Bad news first: Freddy Galvis is in a slump of epic proportions. He's 1-for-30 to start the season, with two walks and nine strikeouts. He looks utterly lost at the plate, and watching him bat is exceedingly unpleasant. He's completely in his head, and it's starting to affect his fielding. I mean, a coat rack with a hat and glove could outplay Galvis right now. It's bad. And while I'm almost always in favor of a young guy like Galvis getting at-bats over organizational cannon fodder, I think he needs a trip to Lehigh Valley to figure things out. Not a permanent trip or a demotion. Just a detour.
Now for the good news: Carlos Ruiz es en fuego. On April 19, just over a week ago, Chooch was hitting .204/.328/.286. After tonight's game, he's hitting .296/.412/.479. He's had one amazing week. I've been ready for the return of Chooch all season, and now I'm so glad it's here. Look at those two slash lines. He did that in one week! Baseball is so great.
Cody Ross may have done things, but you won't read about them in this recap. We are a Cody Ross free zone. You'll have to read about him and his 1920s sad clown face somewhere else.