Detectives Cliff 'Herc' Lee and Carlos 'Carv' Ruiz led the Phillies to a convincing defeat of the Dodgers tonight--or this morning, depending on your timezone--the western district way. Lee and Jeff Manship combined to shut out the Dodgers, and the offense, led by Chooch, powered out seven runs, and probably busted some criminals in the process.
Lee pitched eight shutout innings, scattering four hits (three in the first two innings), with no walks, and ten strikeouts. Coming off a complete game 1-0 loss last week, this was surely a relief for the smooth lefty. Cliff Lee is awesome.
For his part, Chooch, while catching a shutout, went 3 for 4 with two a homerun, two doubles, a walk and four RBIs (his first four of the year), while spending the day in the cleanup hole. Ryne Sandberg seems to like splitting the lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and it seems to be paying off in the early going. Something worth keeping an eye on, at any rate.
In the first, Tony Gwynn Jr led off with a walk, and Jimmy Rollins singled to left. After Utley flied out to center, Chooch drilled a double to right that Yasiel Puig couldn't handle cleanly, scoring both Gwynn and Rollins.
In the bottom of the first, the Dodgers posed their only real threat. Puig singled to right on a ball that a different first baseman would have likely stopped, and moved to second on a deep fly ball to center. I wanted to hate that play, to think that a decent outfielder could have gunned him down, but Gwynn's arm isn't that bad, and he wasn't exactly close. So, fine.
With Puig at second, then, Adrian Gonzalez hit a fielder's choice up the middle. Utley grabbed it, faked a bobble, and threw home to catch Puig in a run-down. Shades of 2008.
Chase Utley is the greatest.
Things were uneventful (aside from Lee's general awesomeness) until the fifth, when Ruiz drew a two-out walk, bringing up Ryan Howard.
Now, Howard has been given a tremendous raft of shit by some folks of late for his seeming inability to "poke the ball to left" or what-have-you to break up the shift. All the while, though, he's quietly been putting together a very solid season at the dish thus far. As if Ryan Howard is the guy you want putting the ball on the ground and legging them out?
Hmmm. Well, you can't count on that happening too often, so, no, that's not a long-term bet. But this is [sadly not embeddable]. With Ruiz on first, Howard blasted one to right, pushing the score to 4-0. Yeah. Poke one to left my ass.
John Mayberry Jr and Domonic Brown followed with singles, bringing Freddy Galvis to the plate. Galvis slapped a weak roller right to Dodger's pitcher Paul Maholm, who threw it into right field, scoring Mayberry. 5-0.
The Dodgers never threatened again, but in the ninth, with one out, Utley doubled to left. Because, you know, he's the best. And that's what he does. This brought up Carlos Ruiz, who is also the best. 7-0. Garbagetime.
Manschooner closed out the ninth, to secure the Phils' second consecutive win. It's called a winning streak. It has happened before. Insert MajorLeagueClip2834.mpeg.
Fangraph of splitting heads and mixing jokes:
If you'll permit a brief moment of Aroundtheleaguearoundtheleaguearoundtheleague, the Anaheim of California Angels of Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area defeated the Montrashington Expotionals on a bases clearing double by FHOFRI Raul Ibanez. RAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL!