By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report
If you hide the date and the names of the teams involved in just about all of Cliff Lee’s outings with the exception of his two wins, it’s the same old script.
Phillies can’t score runs, Lee pitches well and ultimately gets burned by one bad
inning and gives the other team the win. That’s been ending to a sorry saga in what has been a lousy season for the Phillies
Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals fell into the same narrative. The Phillies jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an RBI ground by Ryan Howard. After that the offense went to a deep freeze and managed just three hits the rest of the way because they couldn’t figure out Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook.
“Our offense was really weak tonight, four hits and three singles,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “When our pitchers hold people to three or four runs we’ve got to win those games.”
Meanwhile, Lee seemed to be rolling along for the first five innings, scattering just three hits up to that point. The sixth inning determined both Lee and the Phillies fate for the evening.
Lee gave up a single to John Jay, a double off the right field wall by first baseman Allen Craig. The coup de grace was delivered by Cardinals leftfielder Matt Holliday who smacked 1-2 pitch into the right field seats. And there’s your ball game lady and gents. Art Carney, Sheila McCrae, good night everybody!
“I had the game in hand. I just left a couple of pitches up that double off the wall and the home run,” Lee said. “Tonight it came down to two mistakes the pitch to Craig and the pitch to Holliday. It is what it is.”
I’ve seen superstar players have bad games in sports. I’ve seen good free throw shooters clank balls off the rim in crucial spots and we’ve seen Peyton Manning throw a pick six in the Super Bowl.
But Lee’s 2012 season is something that some how that makes one wonder what can he do to appease the baseball gods. Maybe he needs to call in Pedro Serrano from the movie, “Major League” and spray rum on the baseball or get a priest to bless the Phillies bats before the game. Maybe he can get light some candles and place them around a big picture of Cy Young or Walter Johnson.
Through it all, Lee has somehow managed to keep his head while others around him can’t seem to swing a bat and give him run support. As former Temple head coach John Chaney once told to me, (paraphrasing) defense with no offense is like working all day and not making any money.
“That’s the life of starting pitcher,” Lee said. “ You’ve got to continue to make pitches. You’re there to make pitches, hitters are paid to hit the ball and if you make too many mistakes they’re going to make you pay.”
Lee has worked his butt off all season, it’s too bad that his offense is not helping him to reap the rewards. He doesn’t have bad luck, he has dumb luck.