MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Last year it was Cole Hamels. This year, the whipping boy of the Phillies offense is Cliff Lee.
The Phillies have scored a grand total of one run in Lee's past three starts. One.
They were shut out in Arizona, 4-0, on April 25. Lee allowed four runs in seven innings that night.
They scored one run (in 14 innings) in a 2-1 loss to New York on May 1. Lee allowed one run in seven innings.
They were shut out by Atlanta, 5-0, last Friday. Lee struck out 16 that night and allowed three runs in seven innings.
Lee is third in the National League with 60 strikeouts. He trails Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum by six, so with an average night, he'll reclaim the lead. Only Matt Garza has more strikeouts per nine innings (11.69) than Lee (11.66).
The win-loss record is not stellar -- not that that should matter -- and Lee's ERA of 3.69 seems pedestrian in a rotation of aces. (It's still tied for 32d in the NL.) But Lee has been the victim of poor run support and has been pitching from behind much of the last month.
One matchup to pay attention to Wednesday: Marlins catcher John Buck is 12 for 34 (.353) lifetime against Lee. Six of those 12 hits are for extra bases (three doubles and three home runs).
Here's tonight's lineup for the series finale against the Marlins:
1. Rollins SS
2. Victorino CF
3. Polanco 3B
4. Howard 1B
5. Ibanez LF
6. Francisco RF
7. Schneider C
8. Valdez 2B
9. Lee P
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