Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. . .

. . .not that it matters for Cliff Lee. The Phillies clubhouse was buzzing after Cliff Lee's complete game Phillies debut, when he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished allowing one run on four hits. Lee also singled and doubled, despite entering the game with two career hits. He scored a run on a sacrifice fly by former Indians teammate Ben Francisco, who has also impressed in his first two games.

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. . .

. . .not that it matters for Cliff Lee. The Phillies clubhouse was buzzing after Cliff Lee's complete game Phillies debut, when he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished allowing one run on four hits. Lee also singled and doubled, despite entering the game with two career hits. He scored a run on a sacrifice fly by former Indians teammate Ben Francisco, who has also impressed in his first two games.

 First, here are what some Phillies had to say:

Brad Lidge: "At this rate, the bull-pen is going to be unemployed."

Matt Stairs: "Me and Dobber just got knocked down a notch."

Pete Mackanin: "A shut-out would've been nice."

Cliff Lee: "I'm kind of glad I didn't throw a no-hitter. If I do that on the first time out, I'd be having to live up to some high expectations. Just to get to the win, I'm pleased."

Now, some observations:

1) Just about everybody I talked to in the clubhouse was impressed with the tempo Lee brought to the mound. After each inning, he ran off the mound and into the dugout. Before each inning, he ran onto the field and directly toward the mound. In between, he pitched with a rhythm that was really fun to watch. Ruben Amaro Jr. watched part of the game from the press box. "He's a charger," Amaro said. I think that description fits perfectly.

2) The part of the game that sticks in my mind the most was the seventh, when Lee walked Eugenio Velez on four pitches, then threw three straight balls to Pablo Sandoval. Lee attributed the wildness to the previous half inning, when the Phillies scored three runs and sent eight batters to the plate. He wasn't as loose as he needed to be. But he responded by charging back to get Sandoval swinging on a high third strike, then recorded the next two outs to escape the jam.

3) Lee's double in the eighth inning bounced off the wall in left-center. In Philadelphia, it would have been a problem. "You know what the only problem with that is?," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We're not in Philadelphia." Regardless, Lee went on to score on a sacrifice fly.

4) Lee did a great job of mixing up his pitches, not only challenging hitters with his fastball, but with a devilishly effective slider as well. "Tonight, he was throwing some hard, high sliders and the right-handed hitters were sort of swinging through them, or swinging by them," Manuel said. "He's got a pretty good one that really bites when it goes down. I think that's an out-pitch for him."

5) Francisco went 1-for-4 with an RBI, but also hit a sharp ground ball at Sandoval at third base that could have been ruled a hit, particularly considering the fact that Chase Utley was charged with an error on a ground ball that hit his glove in the ninth. Manuel said he has been very impressed with Francisco in his first two games. I'd expect to see him get significant playing time throughout these final two months. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get two or three starts a week in order to give the regular outfielders a break.

^

Pedro Martinez made his Triple-A debut tonight, allowing four earned runs on three hits in five innings at Lehigh Valley. The way Martinez was talking afterward, he hopes it will be his last start in the minors. Amaro said the team has not decided on his next step, except for a bullpen session that he will throw on Sunday in Lakewood.

“It’s a process,” Martinez said, according to ace Daily News intern and rising journalism star Frank Seravalli. “I’m not totally clear on the rules. They either put me on the DL again – which I don’t need, I don’t need 15 more days – or they send me back down,  which I don’t think I would like."

Martinez was asked whether he would be willing to pitch in the bullpen.

"I'm an employee here," he said. "We all are. When you're an employee, you do what your boss asks you."

I don't know why, but whenever Martinez says something like that I picture him wearing a button-down white shirt tucked into pleated khakis and putting a cup of Ramen noodles in an undersized microwave while Dwight Schrute takes his frozen squirrel out of the refrigerator.

 

David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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