In the previous night, Cliff Lee blanked the Giants for his 11th victory and 5th shutout of the season. For Phillies, it looks like the left hander is back in top form after going through a tough July.
Lee was able to out-duel his counterpart Madison Bumgarneer, holding San Francisco to 7 hits while getting up 8 k’s and inducing 12 grounds ball outs. The lefty once more got his season ERA south of 3 and provided the Phillies their league guiding 72nd victory of the year.
Philadelphia is hoping that this may signal the coming of a month like June for Lee when he was able to win the entire 5 of his starts. His numbers were mind blowing over the span; Lee permitted just a single run in his 42 innings pitching for a sterling 0.21 June ERA. Opposing batters just controlled 21 hits off of him.
However, July was a different story for Lee. Last month he went 1-2 with an earned run average of 4.91 over his 33 innings or work. Lee as well gave up 39 hits and 4 or more runs in 3 of his 5 starts while he was able to strike out 40 in that span.
Frustration actually showed throughout a July 25th start against the offensively challenged Padres. In a game that figured to allow Lee to right the ship, he gave up 10 hits and 5 runs in just 4 innings prior to being lifted for a pinch hitter.
It is not easy to tell a guy with an associate 3 ERA is having just an average year, though this comes out to be the case for Lee. Lee has maintained monthly ERA’s over 3.70 on the year excluding his unbelievable June.
Philadelphia will look to him to turn things up a notch later in the season and bring the momentum into the playoffs. For their sake, hopefully Thursday is the start of one more prevailing stretch for the lefty.