Results tagged ‘ Randy Wolf ’

Lee Dominates Again

Remember a couple weeks ago when people asked, “What’s going on with Cliff Lee?”

Yeah, good times.

Lee was 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA after his first 12 starts, but I said then those numbers were misleading. Lee had a poor record because of poor run support, and his ERA proved deceptive because he had two awful starts among 10 good ones. Remove those two bad starts and he had a 2.90 ERA. But what a difference a few weeks makes. Lee is 8-5 with a 2.87 ERA following last night’s shutout victory over St. Louis. Lee has thrown two consecutive shutouts and has allowed just one run over 33 innings in his last four starts.

Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Lee have been nearly unhittable this season. Eighteen pitchers in baseball have eight or more wins and they are three of them. They also rank among the top eight in strikeouts,  top 14 in ERA and top 15 in innings pitched. If Roy Oswalt can get going — he hasn’t looked the same since coming back from the DL — things could get really interesting.

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From Elias Sports Bureau: Lee threw his second straight shutout last night and has s allowed one run in 33 innings in his last four starts. The last pitcher to throw 33 or more innings while allowing no more than one run over a four-start span was Oswalt in 2008. The only Phillies pitcher to do that in the last 20 years was Randy Wolf in 2002.

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Looking October Worthy

lee 0915.jpg“They have a lot pros over there. Lee and Pedro Martinez and Cole Hamels go deep in ballgames. That’s a good formula for winning.” — Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman.

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.)

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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.

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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.

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Carlos Ruiz is hitting .429 (18-for-42) with one homer and nine RBIs in his past 17 games.

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Good Baseball Against Good Teams

rollins 0614.jpgJimmy Rollins said he looked forward to a double. Actually, he looked forward to any ball that would hit grass first instead of leather.

He got more than that.

He hit a solo home run to right field in the seventh inning in today’s 11-6 victory over the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park. The homer snapped a 0-for-16 slump. But more important, it gave the Phillies the lead against Josh Beckett.

“It was a good win,” Rollins said. “We got a game back on the Mets, which was the most important thing. … It was very fun. You always look forward to these games. Really, since we’ve left every series has been pretty fun. I guess you have the exception of San Diego. They weren’t playing that well, although they were playing well at home. But Los Angeles, New York, Boston. We were playing teams that are expected to be in the running down the stretch. It’s not easy, but you definitely look forward to playing those games.”

Rollins is right about that. Cole Hamels shutuout the Dogers on June 4 at Dodger Stadium, and almost every game has been nip and tuck since. The Phillies had ninth-inning leads June 5 and 6 against the Dodgers, but Brad Lidge blew a pair of saves. The Phillies pounded Randy Wolf in a 7-2 victory June 7. They hit four homers against Johan Santana in a 6-5 loss Tuesday. Chase Utley hit a game-winning homer in the 11th inning against the Mets on Wednesday. Raul Ibanez hit a game-winning three-run homer in the 10th inning against the Mets on Thursday. They lost in 13 innings to the Red Sox on Friday. Last night’s game was an 11-6 loss, but they came back to win today.

The Phillies are 5-5 in that stretch. They could be 7-3, if Lidge saves both those games or one of them and Greg Dobbs‘ foul ball Friday is ruled fair.

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It looked bleak for the Phillies bullpen after J.A. Happ threw 55 pitches in just two innings. The Phillies had thrown 24 innings the previous four nights, and Charlie Manuel said he had just Chan Ho ParkRyan Madson and Tyler Walker available.

But Happ squeezed in 5 2/3 innings, Park threw 2 1/3 innings and Madson pitched an inning. The bullpen gets a much needed rest tomorrow.

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Ibanez had started 222 consecutive games until today.

He has been bothered the past few days with some soreness in his left Achilles area because of some ill-fitting shoes, so Manuel rested him. He said the shoes have been fixed and he is fine. He also said after a long week, which included three consecutive extra-inning games and a game Saturday that ended after midnight, Ibanez just got today off.

“It’s nothing at all,” he siad.

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