Looking October Worthy
The past few nights at Citizens Bank Park have been impressive, and perhaps a glimpse into the future.
Cliff Lee shutout the Nationals tonight at Citizens Bank Park, 5-0, two nights after Pedro Martinez threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings Sunday in a 1-0 victory over the Mets. Two nights before that, Cole Hamels allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in his previous four starts.
“Our one to five is as good as anybody’s,” Lee said of a rotation that also includes Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ. “I don’t think you necessarily have to have a 1-2 punch. I think we’ve got a 1-2-3-4-5 punch. That’s never ending.”
It is too early to say what the postseason rotation will look like, but I think the health of left-handers Scott Eyre and J.C. Romero could play a part in it. If they are not healthy, the Phillies could move Happ into the bullpen to give them a left-hander. If that happens, Martinez obviously makes the rotation.
(And, yes, I know the Mets and Nationals aren’t the Dodgers, Rockies or Cardinals, but the Philllies starters are doing what they should do against these offenses. Shut them down.)
The last time the Phillies had shutouts in consecutive games was April 27-28, 2003, when Kevin Millwood threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory against the Giants at Veterans Stadium and Brett Myers, Dan Plesac and Jose Mesa combined for a 3-0 victory against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
I remember Millwood’s no-hitter well. I had started the Phillies beat a couple weeks earlier for The Philadelphia Inquirer, but because the Phillies opened a series the next night in Los Angeles, I flew to California that afternoon. In other words, the very first game I missed as a Phillies beat writer Kevin Freakin’ Millwood throws a no-hitter. I remember getting into my rental car at LAX, turning on the radio and hearing Vin Scully say, “And Kevin Millwood has a no-hitter through eight innings!” I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I still can’t believe it.
The last time the Phillies had consecutive shutouts in Philadelphia was Aug. 15-16, 2002, against the Brewers and Cardinals. Joe Roa, Mike Timlin and Carlos Silva combined for the shutout against the Brewers, and Randy Wolf shutout the Cardinals.
Carlos Ruiz is hitting .429 (18-for-42) with one homer and nine RBIs in his past 17 games.