Morning Wood: Cliff Lee Pitched 10 Shutout Innings Last Night and The Phillies Lost

Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 10.10.04 AM
This is… this is… THIS IS A FUCK!

If the first two days of this week were some of the most euphoric you will find in the Philly sports landscape, then yesterday was Sum of All Fears day: Any day in which our worries about the Flyers’ sometimes porous defense and inconsistent goaltending come to fruition… and the Phillies non-existent offense costs one of our aces a win in what may have been the best outing of his career.

Cliff Lee pissed last night. He pissed excellence all over the field: No runs. 10 innings. 102 pitches. 81 strikes. 7 strike outs. 7 hits. No walks.

Let that sink it. Let that percolate for a minute. Cliff Lee pitched 10 shutout innings – the first Phillies pitcher to do so since Terry Mulholland in 1993 – and the Phillies lost, 1-0.

Something seems so wrong about that. So inhumane. So sad. 

Give (much) credit for the Phillies’ lack of offense to the newly filthy rich Matt Cain, who threw nine shutout innings. But that shouldn’t absolve the hitters, who were held scoreless for the full 11 innings.

How does that happen? For real, how do they do that?

Let’s delve.


The offense

The Phillies managed four hits over 11 innings. Four. Their offense is completely useless. We used to sit around and wait for the Phillies to hit home runs… now we watch with anxious anticipation and cross our fingers for a few singles.


The manager

Carlos Ruiz doubled to lead off the 11th and then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Freddy Galvis. One out, man on third. Charlie Manuel sent Jim Thome up to face righty Sergio Romo. Smart move… until Bruce Bochy countered with Javier Lopez, a lefty. 

Instead of making the correct substitution – replacing Thome with a right-handed hitter, like, oh, say, Placido Polanco or John Mayberry – Manuel left Thome in. He struck out. He struck out because someone didn’t tell Charlie that it’s not fucking 1998, and his favorite big, lunky left-hander isn’t a Hall of Fame player anymore AND HE’S NOT A CONTACT HITTER (I’M YELLING!). 

Of course, it’s not like Mayberry or Polanco are great options, either. Mayberry, pinch-hitting for CONTACT HITTER Juan Pierre (why? why was he doing that?) the next at-bat, grounded out weakly to shortstop. And Polanco sucks. But still… it’s not a place to bat Thome.


The GM

What, in the fuck, was Ruben Amaro doing this offseason? When the season ended last year, he told reporters (and Manuel) that hitters would be asked to changed their approach. Asked to play more small ball. So why, then, would he go out and sign a bunch of slow, plodding, aging white guys? HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO PLAY SMALL BALL WITH THOME, TY WIGGINTON AND LAYNCE NIX. Each one is bigger and slower than the next guy. The Phillies’ most noticeable problem last year was that they had an old and predictable lineup. So what did Rube do? Somehow, he made them older… and more predictably awful. What the fuck kind of lineup is this? Yeah, let’s play small ball. We’ll have Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins do what they do, Pierre slap the ball around, Pence as our power hitter, and surround them with a bunch of useless, lumbering utility players who will be playing in beer leagues in two years. Brilliant. Fucking brilliant, Rube. You dolt.

I'll admit that I liked the moves in the December. I thought they added depth. I was wrong– I forgot that you can't play small ball with chunky white utility players. Who knew?! Not Rube.


Ty Wigginton and Laynce Fucking Nix

They suck. It’s like a slow-off between those two. Who can move laterally more slowly than the other? 

Lee, who could have legitimately pitched 11 innings, was forced to get extra outs in both the 9th and 10th innings. 

In the 9th, Nix mad an error on a Hector Sanchez ground ball . Lee covered it up. Melky Cabrera singled on a play that should have been an out, had third baseman Wigginton been able to move to his left. Lee covered it up.

In the 10th, Ryan Theriot singled to left, again on a play that could have been an out. And Nate Schierholtz nearly got an infield single when Nix misplayed a ground ball, forcing Galvis to get the put-out himself. That’s right, Freddy Galvis fielded a ground ball and ran to first to get the out. That would be an anomaly in even the most pathetic of tee-ball leagues.

In the 11th, Wigginton made an error on what should have been an inning-ending double-play. The Giants won two pitches later, when Cabrera walked it off.

The Phillies are going to waste the best two-to-three-year pitching window of their existence by counting on a lineup that can’t score it’s way out of a brothel. 

Lee was so magical. A pissing pony of excellence, rainbowing colors into the San Francisco night. Look at his pitch charts. Beautiful cutters and curves, crossing swords in the most homoerotic of ways:

Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 10.07.35 AM
Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 10.07.35 AM 

That’s magic. Movement so precise and consistent that he only had to throw 102 pitches in 10 innings. HE PITCHED 10 SHUTOUT INNINGS AND HIS TEAM LOST.

What a joke.

Check out Lee's demeanor change when the useless Nix walked by to congratulate our steed, after he was removed from the game:

Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 9.29.50 AM
Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 9.29.50 AM
Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 9.29.50 AM"That dick"

Somehow, Lee kept his cool afterward: []

Lee said Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee actually told him that he was finished pitching after nine innings, but he successfully lobbied to go on.

"I told them I could keep pitching easy so he said, 'Let me go talk to Charlie,' and they decided to let me go back out there," he said. "Before the 11th, I tried it again but nothing happened.

"Every time I pitch I want to get as deep into the game as I can and put up as many zeros as I can. I was able to do that for 10 innings today. It was really no different than any other game. That's what I'm trying to do every time. I was able to put it all together and they hit balls to our defense. I was able to get out of a couple jams."

He paused briefly.

"It's … it's over now," he said. 


If you didn’t stay up late to watch the excellence, here are the video highlights of a masterful performance.


  1. Don’t be racist kyle. They could be slow and black too. (Barry Bonds, Prince Fielder, Melky Cabrera)

  2. Been saying it since he was completely out smarted by Joe Girardi (yes Joe Girardi) in 09
    Charles has to go … sorry
    I’m sure the new fans will disagree, but he aint the right coach for this team any longer
    Thank you for reading my pretentious post
    Beez Nutz

  3. last place in the NL east first place in our hearts.

  4. agreed with beez I still mind fucked by the fact he pinch hit for Juan Pierre

  5. as you pointed out in the details, this game made me sick… sick from watching excellence be wasted… the offense keeps doing this and i wouldn’t expect the starters to give two shits what happens anymore… sans Cole who has to put up #’s so he can get his $’s.. Doc and Cliff will form a club… the fucking score some runs for us club or we’ll start throwing beach-balls up to the plate… they came here to win.. not this fucking garbage that has been going on since opening day in Pittsburgh.. UGH

  6. C’mon, now, Kyle, did you really, REALLY think Uncle Charlie was going to substitute Thome after Bruce Bochy countered with a lefty? We all know how unshakably loyal Manuel is to his veterans, he could’ve had Barry Bonds circa 1992 on the bench and he STILL would’ve stuck with Thome. That’s how Manuel operates. You’d have better luck changing the course of the Delaware River than Charlie’s mind after he’s made it up.
    As for Nix And Wiggington, of course those signings looked good back in December because they were brought onboard as bench players who’d only get spot starts here and there. But that plan went to hell when they were forced to become every day regulars who’s flaws were exposed nightly as they stumble at the plate, on the basepaths (on those rare occasions after they actually get hits) and in the field. At present, there’s nothing to be done about that.
    As for Cliff Lee and his ruined performance, that happens to every pitcher, from the Hall of Famers to the career minor leaguers. Hey, that’s baseball. Time to move on.

  7. 3 Finger Lenny Key Points:
    mayberry sucks this yr
    polly looks cooked
    J Roll should get the f out of the 3rd spot in batting order
    wiggs & nix were terrible signings
    they should bring up the bust dom brown & scott pod

  8. Bitch betta have mah HONEY

    April 19, 2012 at 10:59 am

    We either find a bat(s) or this season is wasted. A FULL STRENGTH Howard and utley could MAYBE fix this lineup. We’re not getting that though…and RAJ isn’t an idiot so I assume there is something I’m not seeing. Otherwise we’re hard pressed to make the playoffs and won’t make it outve the first round.

  9. You have successfully summed up my frustration with this team. Poor Cliff, he deserved ten runs for support after his magical performance.

  10. This Phillies team is like being married to a celibate Kate Upton.

  11. These pitchers are class acts…but really how much more of this lack of hitting can they put up with? They can only do so much. We need Howard back.

  12. Kyle, get out of my head and stop stealing my exact thoughts.

  13. We haven’t been the same since bench coach Jimy Williams left, he was Cholly’s brains

  14. Whose even out there to get? I can’t see any free agents out that would help our lineup and who do you intend on trading for a legitimate hitter? Our terrible minor leaguers? Anyone that actually hits in our lineup? No, not good enough. And if this keeps up our team is going to get gutted like a fish come the trade deadline and we will lose one or more of our aces. Hey, at least we paid 50 mill for the best closer available. Thats… something.

  15. Calling it now, Rube will trade Hamels and a minor leaguer for a big bat. Mark my words…

  16. I agree with Beez Nutz.
    Guess who else does….all Phillies fans from before their World Series appearance in 2008.
    We love to forget that this guy had 1 foot out the door.
    They lose to LA in ’08, he’s been gone for 4 years already.
    What if.

  17. Hey guys, it’s April 19. Everything will be OK.

  18. The Phillies are going to waste the best two-to-three-year pitching window of their existence by counting on a lineup that can’t score it’s way out of a brothel.
    Sums it up better than anything else I’ve heard. :(

  19. Todd is right. Let’s at least wait a full month, maybe longer before going to DEFCON 3.

  20. Jonny- perfect comment. Perfect.
    All we can hope is that Kate changes her mind, goes back on her vow of celibacy, and we have an orgasmic 5 month stretch that blows our minds.

  21. Re: Manager…
    You’re right about the Thome thing. If they put in, say, mayberry to hit for Thome when the Lopez comes in, it’s possible that Lopez issues an intentional walk to Mayberry. Then, you still would have 1st and 3rd, 1 out, and a contact hitter who is very tough to double up, who hits .300 + against LHP for his career in Juan Pierre.

  22. Philly Flash and Todd,
    You’re right. Its April 19, 2012.
    Before that it was October 2011.
    Prior to that it was October 2010.
    Let me know what I should worry about the hitting on this team.
    PS – if you say ‘102 wins’ I’ll find you and kill you.

  23. cliff lee's left arm

    April 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

    glad they spent $$$ on Nix, Wiggs, and Thome…maby Rube should have pooled that $$$ and got Cuddyer instead? hes ONLY batting .370

  24. @Steve
    It warms my heart to see you coming to the dark side.
    All you guys saying its early are completely wrong. The warning signs were there coming down the stretch last season… they were there all postseason. They were actually there in 2010 if people remember.
    Howard really could carry this team IF he is healthy enough … IF.
    But regardless, its time to move Cole and start building for the next year or two. Sucks to say it.
    Beez Nutz

  25. Fan Before it was Cool

    April 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Whoever said Rube is not an idiot just exposed themselves as one.

  26. The problem is, this two year window of pitching has to come at the expense of the lineup. You guys wanted Halladay, well, you had to give up prospects to get him. You wanted Cliff Lee, you had to give up Werth to sign him.
    This is all part of the deal that we all agrees upon that this team was going to be built on pitching and that the line up, especially without Utley and Howard, was going to be dreadful.
    So, I suggest, sucking it up.

  27. Bitch betta have mah HONEY

    April 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Well he did go to Stanford. I’ll agree his moves aren’t exactly adding up the way I’d hoped for, nor is there anything sustainable
    It’s a mistake to think Howard is coming back as himself. His ship has sailed.

  28. I don’t understand why Charlie would pinch hit for Cliff at all considering he is one of the top five hitters on the team.

  29. Beez, I’m not the “Steve” you’re thinking of.
    I’ve BEEN on the dark side.

  30. #bringupdom

  31. Ryan Howard's left crutch

    April 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Bring up Scott Pod and D-Brown, fuck it.

  32. Lol … Sorry Steve
    I shoulda known
    Beez Nutz

  33. ThePhillyFlash

    April 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Yo, Steve, I humbly apologize for not panicking and prepping a rat poison cocktail to gulp down after just 12 games. Look, I know this team is hideously flawed on offense, perhaps moreso than I’ve seen since the 1990’s, but I refuse to scream bloody murder and jump off the nearest bridge when there’s still FIVE MONTHS of baseball left to play.
    Too many people foolishly apply the NFL’s “win right freaking now or you’re doomed” philosophy to the baseball season which is a marathon, not a sprint. I still say we should collectively take a deep breath, calm down and wait and see if the Phils can turn things around. If that turnaround doesn’t come to pass, I’ll gladly join the end of the world chorus.

  34. I’m with you JT. All we can do is hope. Now I’ll spend the rest of my afternoon fantasizing about both scenarios.

  35. HAHA! @ “IF you say ‘102 wins’, I’ll find you and Kill you”.

  36. @ ThePhillyFlash – I think Steve’s point is, it’s the beginning of the season yeah, but instead of them chocking towards the end, its what 3 weeks in and they’re choking ??? Also – the offense hasn’t sucked for the last month only, it’s been sucking since 2010 !! It’s the SAME problem, season after season. Nobody can fucking hit.

  37. ThePhillyFlash

    April 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    gophillies: I know all that, it’s not exactly a revelation, still, I have faith the team can turn it around. Is that being naive? You betcha! But hey, that’s what being a fan is all about.
    P.S. What about 101 wins? Heh!

  38. Kyle`s Bryz impressions

    April 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    What a waste of 3 hours of my life. Watching this team score 0 runs in 11 innings…joke

  39. @PhillyFlash
    Its not naive to think they can turn it around**
    ** = if they get howard back soon.
    Just so people can understand (since the media in philly blows). The phils BA and hit totals are right in the middle of the NL … just as they were in 10 and 11.
    The difference now is they dont have Howard or Utley (but mostly howard).
    That is my concern here
    1. Can Howard come back and be healthy enough to help
    2. If not Cholly and this lineup are not equipped to win.
    Also, yes they are still flawed with Howard but all his meaningless RBI’s should be enough
    Beez Nutz

  40. Can someone explain why Posednik didnt make this roster out of spring training again? Like i’m not trying to suggest he should have, I just need some info.

  41. I was at the game last night, even giants fans were in awe of clifton’s unbelievable performance. I do think that we need to wait at least 5 more games before hating charlie and wanting to be rid of hamels. all we need is polanco to start hitting and then the phils will start winning some

  42. Lee should have been at the bag on the play when galvis ran it over to first. That is something pitchers work on a lot in spring training.

  43. I am still angry from the last time Lee pitched. How can Charlie take out Lee, a good hitting pitcher, and pinch hit Nix, who then hits into a double play. GOOD MOVE. And now this game Thome, really Charlie. When are you going to realize Lee doesn’t need a hitter for him. Let the man bat, thanks to the wonderful acquisitions in the off season, he’s better than any pinch hitter you could put in there. I was so angry I couldn’t even turn them on last night, and missed an excellent performance by Worley. Thanks Charlie.

  44. Bill, Lee had first covered, but Galvis saw he could beat the batter to the bag and decided not to throw it. Cliff backed off when Freddy made it clear he wasn’t going to throw it to him.

  45. And my own 2 cents @ all the “it’s still early” guys.
    It could still be turned around and I hope it can, but the most infuriating thing here was the management of the game. Charlie really blew it there making completely ridiculous calls at the end. If he continues to be a bonehead, then there is no hope.

  46. @ Lenny – Polly is cooked

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