Cliff Lee had an up and down month of September, but with a clean slate in October, all is well again. Lee pitched a complete game and led the Phillies to a 5-1 win in Game 1 of the NLDS over the Rockies. He had a shut-out going into the 9th inning.
In a post-game interview, Lee admitted to getting distracted when he took a moment to soak in the crowd and the atmosphere, which led to a Troy Tulowitzki double to score a run with two outs in the inning. While both Lee and the crowd were disappointed about the lost shut-out, that disappointment lasted only a few moments as Lee stuck out Garret Atkins to end the game.
The first 4 innings were tense as the Phillies hitters were shut down by pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. But in the 5th, they figured him out and pounded out 5 runs in two innings. High winds kept a few balls in the park and the field was littered with bags, wrappers and a small dust storm, but they managed to hit through it. Every player in the line-up, including Lee, had at least one hit in the game. The middle of the line-up, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez, had 2 hits apiece and combined for 4 RBI. The Phillies also racked up 3 doubles, 1 triple by Werth and 3 stolen bases.
Shocking everyone, including manager Charlie Manuel, Cliff Lee stole one of those 3 bases. The man did everything tonight; he hit, he ran and he pitched the entire game. Looking around the ballpark, I actually saw a t-shirt that said “Thank-you, Indians.” I think we can all agree with that sentiment.
So Cole Hamels will pitch Game 2 tomorrow and he will have a LOT on his mind. Not only is he starting a play-off game, but his wife is pregnant with their first child and she is due right NOW. Seriously, she could pop at any second. We should all say a collective prayer that she can hold that baby in until at least Friday.
I just read an interesting article about Hamels as well. It seems that he too is cheesed over the crappy start times for this series that we all got stuck with. Beat writer Todd Zolecki quoted Hamels as saying, “Being the defending world champs, I think it’s kind of a little weird that we kind of get both games at 2 o’ clock. I don’t think it’s fair. I definitely don’t think it’s fair for the fans because this is all about the home-field advantage or just baseball in general.” For once Cole, I completely agree.
Not only did thousands of people have to ditch work to attend the game, but thousands of kids skipped school as well. Sadly, the education system took a big hit today and probably will again tomorrow. In fact, today’s game was host to the largest crowd in the history of Citizens Bank Park: 46,452. We will see if that is surpassed tomorrow. Game time is 2:37pm….ugh.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game today. Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn