These are the kind of games that make me wonder why so much emphasis is put on pitcher wins and losses. It is a flawed statistic. Phillies starter Cliff Lee has a 2.82 ERA in 7 starts and NO wins through no fault of his own. At least 5 of those he should definitely have won, but the offense did not help out.
Why is the win/loss stat still heavily relied upon when determining who should be an All-Star, an MVP or a Cy Young winner? Lee is a prime example of why this should not be an influential factor in those decisions or in figuring who the top pitchers in baseball are.
You can then see why Lee is obviously frustrated as evidenced by an altercation in the dugout last night with Shane Victorino. After two missed fly balls in the 4th inning, one by Victorino and one by Hunter Pence, the Cardinals took the lead in the game, leading to another no decision for Lee.
The two balls were lost in the twilight and probably not really anyone’s fault. But the chain of events did emphasize a larger issue; this Phillies offense is wildly inconsistent and the starting pitchers are rightly annoyed. In fact, assuming Lee spoke for everyone last night, I am glad they are annoyed. It shows that they actually give a crap. And maybe this little outburst will light a fire under the rest of the team.
Lee is frustrated more than most as he has received the least amount of run support. And for a guy that has a reputation of being laid back and never getting rattled, seeing him tee-off on Victorino last night speaks volumes. Clearly, he does care…a lot.
Victorino later made some great defensive plays to keep the Phillies within reach. A solid relay throw to Freddy Galvis turned into an out at the plate in the 8th inning as Yadier Molina tried to bowl over Carlos Ruiz. In his usual tough guy style, Ruiz held onto the ball despite the blow.
And Lee helped his own cause with 2 hits and huge run scored in the 7th where he went from first to home and looked good doing it. After the play, Lee probably could have used some oxygen, but he was just fine.
That run tied the game, which went to extra innings. And then Pence, who made the 2nd blunder in the outfield earlier, came out the hero with a 2-run homer in the 10th. Jonathan Papelbon closed out the 5-3 win for the Phillies 3rd straight victory.
Game 3 with the Cardinals starts tonight at 7:15pm; Kyle Kendrick will start.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography