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Cliff Lee pitched a complete game shut out of the Red Sox to give the Phillies a decisive win in Tuesday night’s interleague matchup between the two World Series favorites.
The game was billed as a pitching duel between aces Josh Beckett and Lee, but only one of them turned in an ace-worthy performance. In the 5-0 win, Lee pitched a 2-hitter in his third consecutive shutout and fourth on the year.
Lee put it simply when talking about his brilliance on the mound this season.
“I’m making pitches, staying out of the zone, using my breaking ball and getting lucky,” Lee humbly said about his recent success. “It’s been a good run, no doubt about it. I’ve had a few in my career, but I don’t look back and compare them. I want to throw a shutout every time out there. I never want to give up a run.”
Lee was throwing a no-hitter until Marco Scutaro led off the sixth inning with a single to center field. He would, of course, give up only one more hit in the game.
Contrastingly, Josh Beckett began to unravel in the second inning when he flubbed a toss to Adrain Gonzalez at first base, giving the runner the opportunity to advance to scoring position. On the next at bat, Domonic Bown hit a two-run homer to give the Phillies the shutout lead that they would maintain for the rest of the game.
Beckett gave up five runs and five hits in six innings, making it his worst game this season. He hadn’t pitched for 12 days due to being out with the flu, but going into the game he was leading the league with a 1.86 ERA.
To say that Lee has been astounding since his 4-5 start this year would be an understatement. In the month of June, he is 5-0 with an ERA of 0.21. Talk about a hot streak.
Not to mention the fact that he also has been hitting well, racking up another RBI as well last night on a sacrifice fly to send Carlos Ruiz home from third base. Shane Victorino rounded out the final score for the Phillies when he hit the second two-run homer for his team that night, putting them up by the final score of 5-0.
In a game that was being touted as a possible preview to the World Series, one has to wonder why the Red Sox seemingly showed up looking like the same team that dropped 2 of 3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That’s why the blame falls on the entire team. In fact, I give Beckett somewhat of a pass on this one. He was a little rusty having missed starts with whatever type of lame sickness keeps baseball players off the field for nearly two weeks. Coming into this game he was performing at a level that Sox fans haven’t seen since the 2007 World Series season. Five earned runs in five innings is terribly inadequate, especially considering that he was facing the hottest pitcher in the major leagues right now. But he had absolutely no offensive help from his teammates.
Even without David Ortiz in the lineup, this batting lineup should be able to produce atleast ONE run. And consider this: the two guys who had hits in this game we Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro. That’s unacceptable.
Dustin Pedroia went 0-3, snapping an 11-game hitting streak. Good timing, buddy.
Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-4 batting at the top of the order. In a tightly pitched game, it’s important that this guy be able to get on base and develop an offensive rhythm for the rest of the order. Also, his base-running abilities and the threat of stolen bases could give his team a chance to get these pitchers a little more uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox have the woeful John Lackey on the mound for them tonight. He will opposed rookie Vance Worley, so the starting pitching is still fairly even, but I can’t imagine the mentally weak Lackey composing himself for the first time all season in the boisterously loud and condescending atmosphere of Phillies’ fans. I say the Red Sox lose this one tonight and look to pull out their only win in the series when Lester pitches against Cole Hamels on Thursday.
The Red Sox are going to struggle to win no matter what until their offense gets firing on all cylinders again. Look to see David Ortiz inserted into the lineup tonight as the first baseman, with Gonzalez playing in right field.