If I had not watched the game last night and you told me this morning that Cliff Lee blew a 4-run lead in a playoff game, I would have assumed that someone put crack in your cornflakes. But alas, I did see the game and yes, the unbeLEEable happened.
Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa looked like a serious moron in the first two innings, pitching Chris Carpenter on only 3 days rest. The Phillies beat him up to the tune of 4 runs. With Lee on the mound, this was a sure win, right? Wrong.
Because Lee imploded , allowing 3 runs in the 3rd and two more over the 6th and 7th. Frankly, he never should have been sent back out for the 7th after it was clear in the 6th that this was not his day.
But the Phillies offense also blew a lot of opportunities. After scoring 3 in the 1st, Placido Polanco hit into a double play with 2 men on base to end the inning. It was still a good first inning, but they could have really put the game away here and did not. They left runners on base in the 2nd as well.
Polanco is 0-8 in the series so far. So is Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz took a huge shot at the plate to save a run yesterday, but his bat has come up empty. And Hunter Pence, although he has gotten a few big hits, has also left 5 men on base in the series and hit into a fielder choice in a key situation last night in the 8th, killing the momentum.
So the game cannot all be blamed on Lee, but it certainly is a huge disappointment based on what we all know Lee is capable of.
The Phillies head to St. Louis now and will put Cole Hamels on the mound against Jaime Garcia, who the Phillies have not been able to hit at all in the past. Game time on Tuesday is 5:00pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography