Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Risky Call with Lee

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel announced today that Cliff Lee will start Game One of the NLDS against the Colorado Rockies tomorrow.
Cole Hamels will start Game Two.

A Risky Call with Lee

Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick is on the postseason roster. (File photo)
Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick is on the postseason roster. (File photo)

UPDATE: Here is the official NLDS roster

Catchers (2): Paul Bako and Carlos Ruiz
 
Infielders (6): Miguel Cairo, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley
Outfielders (5): Ben Francisco, Raul Ibanez, Matt Stairs, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth
 
Pitchers (12): left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Scott Eyre, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Cliff Lee and right-handers Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Pedro Martinez and Brett Myers
 
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel named former Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee as his Game One starter against the Colorado Rockies in Wednesday's Game One of the National League division series. He will face 25-year-old  righthander  Ubaldo Jimenez (15-12, 3.47 ERA).

Lee is 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA with the Phillies after coming over from Cleveland in a July trade.

Lefthander Cole Hamels will start Game Two on Thursday. He finished 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA. Last year's National League Championship Series and World Series MVP has struggled at times, but seems to have regained much of his confidence. "I understand now what a difference I can make, the tone I can set when I win a postseason game," Hamels said Sunday.

Last year, Lee went  22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and won the American League Cy Young Award.

“I’m just going to try to do what I’ve done my whole career,” he said earlier this week.

 Quick analysis: This is a risky move, given Lee's Sept. performace.  Hamels would only be starting on short rest because the Phils sent him out there on Saturday.  A better pitcher in Sept. than Lee, Hamels also has impressive postseason experience.

Lee pitched very well against Colorado in August, but that was before his innings total climbed to career-high levels, appearing to undermine his performance.

As for the bullpen, Manuel does not know, or would not say, who his closer would be in the first save opportunity.  Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ will be in the bullpen for the first two games, an indication of how Manuel feels about his relief corps.  Both are candidates to start Game 3 and Game 4.

More coverage
 
Phillies Zone: Roster announced; risky call with Lee
 
High Cheese: Why Lee over Hamels?
 
Daulton memorabilia for bid
 
Phillies manager Manuel, Rockies GM O'Dowd worked together in Cleveland
 
In Hamels' driver seat
 
Phillies pitcher Happ controls his pitches and emotions
 
Phillies' newcomers enjoying the ride
 
Playoff weather
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