The last time the Phillies won seven games in a row in the month of June was in 1982. In 2011, they have done it again…finally. And they also swept the Marlins in a four game series.
Cliff Lee was on fire today, only in a good way, not in a call the fire department way. He was no-hitting the Fish until Mike Stanton singled with 2 outs in the 5th. Still, Lee wound up pitching a complete game shut-out in the 3-0 win.
In addition, Lee was hot at the plate as well. He had two hits in the game, the second of which was an RBI-double off the right-center field wall. He missed a home run by only a few feet.
And that one run, the first of the game, turned out to be all Lee needed to win the game. But just for good measure, Ryan Howard added on with a solo homer in the 5th and Jimmy Rollins knocked in the third run in the 6th with a double.
The Phillies are now on their way to Seattle where they will begin a 3-game series with the Mariners Friday night at 10:10pm. Roy Oswalt will pitch and Cole Hamels will start on Sunday.
Due to the doubleheader yesterday, the Phillies were in need of a spot starter for Saturday, which is going to be rookie Vance Worley. That brings us to the sad news of the day…
To make room for Worley, the Phillies chose to designate J.C. Romero for assignment. They have 10 days to trade him, release him or place him on waivers. Romero could be offered a minor league deal if no one takes him, but the odds are slim that he would accept that deal.
While Romero has struggled since having elbow surgery before the 2010 season, the emergence of lefty Antonio Bastardo has also made it difficult for Romero to get innings. Romero will always be remembered in Philadelphia for his contributions to the 2008 World Series championship plus a League Championship and two NL East titles.
On a personal note, I have had the privilege of being able to spend some time with J.C. and his family over the last 3+ years and I will miss them. The Romero’s are generous, kind people who contributed much more than just baseball to the city of Philadelphia and other communities in need.
I wish them the very best.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Today’s Phillies – Marlins match-up was surrouned by all sorts of rookie news. The highly anticipated debut of the National’s Stephen Strasburg took place just up the road in DC. The right-handed pitcher signed a record $15.1 million contract last August and has been the most hyped prospect in decades. He lived up to the hype, pitching 7 innings, allowing 2 runs and striking out 14 batters, a club record. Very impressive, although he did pitch against the Pirates. The Nats will know more when he faces a tougher team, but even so, this kid looks like the real deal.
And for the Marlins, their big prospect, Mike Stanton, made his debut against the Phils. Stanton had a 3-hit night and scored twice. Needless to say, another sparkling debut for a team in the NL East.
Kyle Kendrick started for the Phils; watching him pitch this year in place of the still injured JA Happ has been an exercise in patience. Sometimes he looks good, like last week in Atlanta, and sometimes he is terrible. Today’s outing against the Marlins fell under the “terrible” category. Kendrick pitched only 5 innings and allowed 5 runs, plus he committed a throwing error which led to more runs for the Fish. Ryan Howard also committed an error in the game which put a runner on first. The next batter homered to drive that run in.
But bad pitching and sloppy defense was paired tonight with some actual hitting. Why the Phillies cannot seem to do all three of these things well all at the same time remains a mystery. Amidst Kendrick’s awful effort and 2 more runs allowed by the Phillies bullpen, the offense woke up and started to hit.
Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino both homered, Chase Utley got 2 hits in consecutive at-bats and Raul Ibanez had 4 hits and 2 RBI on the night. 4 hits? Where has this guy been all year? It’s about time…
Jayson Werth was benched to give him a chance to recover from an awful 10 at-bat hitless streak. Ben Francisco filled in and did not do much better early on. After many sloppy adventures in the outfield and grounding into 2 double plays, one of which cost them a run, Francisco made up for it all with a 2 RBI single in the 9th to give the Phillies a 9-8 lead. Wilson Valdez followed up with a single tricked up the 3rd base line to score another run.
Brad Lidge had another chance at a save with the 10-8 lead. With two outs, Lidge found himself in hot water as the loaded the bases after a close call at second base did not go the Phillies way. But no worries, he popped up the next batter and notched save #3 on the year.
By the way, this is the 3rd time this year that Kendrick has started a game and Jose Contreras got the win. Even after giving up the go-ahead run, Contreras still came out on top; Kyle must be wondering why Jose keeps stealing his thunder.
Tomorrow will be a rematch of the Roy Halladay perfect game on May 29th in Miami. Same team, same two pitchers; Halladay faces Josh Johnson again. Hopefully, same result ;o) Game time is 7:05pm.
By the way, is it just me, or does Cody Ross of the Marlins look a bit like Chucky? Creepy…
Francisco head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography