The topic of this is a little silly. Of course Cliff Lee will win a game this year. But the lack of support given to him by the Phillies offense has been comical. Last night, Lee threw the team onto his back, shutting out the Dodgers for seven innings while allowing just three baserunners, and striking out 12 hitters. Of course, the eighth inning comes along and Lee allows four hits and two runs…and that's enough for a loss, since the Phillies offense could only manage one run and one extra base hit against the Dodgers pitchers led by Chad Billingsley. 2-1 losses aren't a good way for a pitcher to live. Lee has seven quality starts in nine outings, is striking out a batter per inning, has a 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio…and has been given a total of 30 runs in those nine starts, with 21 of those runs coming in three starts. This isn't a "Cliff Lee" problem, this is a "Phillies offense" problem.
Game of the Night: Nationals 7, Mets 6 (11 innings). This was a crazy, back and forth game that saw the Mets blow THREE leads in the eighth inning or later. The Nationals led 3-0 after five, but back to back homers in the sixth by Jordany Valdespin and David Wright made it a one run game. A two run double in the eighth by Andres Torres gave the Mets a 4-3 lead, but Ian Desmond tied it with an RBI single to send it into extras. Scott Hairston scored in the tenth on a Henry Rodriguez wild pitch, but Desmond struck again, grounding a surefire game-ending double play ball to Valdespin that he mishandled, allowing a run to score. Hairston struck again in the 12th, hitting a solo homer to give the Mets the lead. Then, Desmond delivered once AGAIN, doubling in Michael Morse to tie the game. The Nationals loaded the bases with two outs for Bryce Harper, who lofted a floater into left field that fell just in front of Vinny Rottino for his first career walkoff hit, and a big win for the Nationals.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Andy Pettitte destroyed the Rays, pitching 7 1/3 shutout innings while allowing two hits and two walks, striking out a whopping ten as the Yankees won 7-0. Tim Hudson threw a complete game shutout against the Marlins, allowing just five hits and three walks, striking out three in Atlanta's 11-0 win. Ryan Dempster picked up his first win of the year for the Cubs in Chicago's 10-0 win over the Brewers, shutting them out over seven while allowing three hits and no walks, striking out three in the process. Bruce Chen threw a gem in the Royals' 1-0 win over the Twins, going seven and giving up four hits and no walks, while striking out five Minnesota hitters.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In the aforementioned blowout win for Atlanta, Dan Uggla went 4/5 against his former team, scoring three times and driving in five with a double and two homers. In the Angels' 6-1 win over the Mariners, Mark Trumbo went 4/4 with two runs, four RBI, a double, and two homers. The Blue Jays beat the AL Central leading White Sox 9-5 due in part to Colby Rasmus, who went 5/5 with four runs scored, three runs driven in, a double, and a homer. The Diamondbacks beat up the Rockies 10-0, and a big day from Jason Kubel helped: 3/5 with three runs scored, five RBI, a triple (?!?), and a homer.
Spotlight Series: I forgot to write it up, but it was going to be the Braves-Marlins series. The Braves beat the tar out of Miami on both sides of the diamond, scoring 11 runs on 16 hits while holding the Marlins to no runs and just five hits. I already talked about Uggla's monster game with the bat and Hudson's dominance on the mound, but Jason Heyward went 3/4 with two runs, an RBI, a double, and a walk for the Braves, while rookie Andrelton Simmons went 3/5 with a run, three RBI, and a triple hitting behind Heyward in the order. It's funny…five of the team's 11 runs were driven in by Uggla, and the other six were driven in by Heyward, Simmons, and Hudson. Oh, baseball. For the Marlins, Anibal Sanchez got slaughtered, allowing seven runs in 6 2/3, striking out five while only walking one. It wasn't *that* bad until the seventh inning though, but he was clearly out of gas by then.
Other Games: The Indians edged the Tigers 4-2 behind a solid start from Ubaldo Jimenez. The Orioles beat the Red Sox 8-6 in ten innings after Jim Johnson blew the save in the ninth. The Pirates continued their mastery of the Reds, winning 8-6 in a three homer game. The Astros edged the once dominant Cardinals 9-8 to knock the defending champs to .500. The Rangers beat the A's 6-3 despite a couple of Oakland homers. The Padres beat the Giants 6-5 on a walk-off homer by Logan Forsythe.
Today's Games: Madison Bumgarner starts for the Giants in San Diego. Edwin Jackson takes on the Mets in DC. Wei-Yin Chen and Josh Beckett will duel in Boston. Brandon Morrow starts for the Blue Jays against the White Sox. Johnny Cueto will take on Brad Lincoln of the Pirates in his first start of the year. The struggling Josh Johnson starts for the Marlins, as they host the Braves. Adam Wainwright will go for the Cardinals in Houston. Zack Greinke, unbeatable at Miller Park, will start at home against the Cubs.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.