The Twitter-verse came alive yesterday with word that today is Cliff Lee’s last rehab appearance. He has been announced as the Phillies’ starting pitcher against the San Francisco Giants next Monday, July 14th. After the spanking Lee got at the hands of the Saint Louis Cardinals’ Advanced A team, the Phillies and Lee may want to rethink this strategy. I understand the need to get Lee back to the majors to establish and enhance his trade value, but I don’t believe there is much market or return for a left-handed starter who can’t get strikes past low minor’s batters.
Lee’s line was –
- 4.2 IP, 8 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP
Lee allowed 5 runs in the first inning following a lead off fielding error by J.P. Crawford. A sacrifice and single plated the first run, an unearned run. After a double and a strike out, any additional runs would also be unearned. Lee continued with a 2-run single and 2-run home run before escaping the inning with a deep fly to right.
Lee surrendered another run in the second on a one-out triple and sac fly. He also hit a hit a left-handed batter in the back before finishing the inning. Lee pitched 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth, but allowed a lead off double off the left field wall to start the fifth inning. He would record his second strike out and first walk before being lifted with 2 outs, 2 in, and 2 on.
Lee threw a lot of first pitch strikes and more strikes than balls before I stopped keeping track after the second inning. He had thrown 10 of 13 first pitch strikes and 24 strikes in 34 pitches. The young Cardinals were not intimidated and swung early and often. Lee got in trouble when he left pitches up around belt high. The Cardinals were disciplined enough to lay off his low pitches that dropped out of the zone.
Ethan Stewart stranded the two runner he inherited from Lee and retired 7 in a row thru the end of the 7th inning, striking out two. After a lead off strike out to start the 8th inning, Stewart retired only one of the next 5 batters. He was relieved after giving up 3 runs. Ulises Joaquin came on retire the last batter. He pitched the ninth and gave up a solo home run but struck out two.
Brian Pointer returned from suspension to hit a home run on the first pitch he saw. He finished 2-4 with both of the Threshers RBIs.
Crawford returned from the Futures game to go 3-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Roman Quinn picked up a fielding error when he bobbled a ground ball and the batter took an extra base.
Threshers’ batters took issue with the strke zone during the game. Eight struck out thru 8 innings.
Stewart faced 13 batters and walked none.
Two of Joaquin’s 4 outs were recorded by strike outs.
Cardinal second baseman Mason Katz was Aaron Nola’s team mate at LSU.
There was a rumor circulating that Nola will be reporting to Reading after 2 more starts in Clearwater. A very good source.