Monday, October 19, 2009

Cliff Lee Amazingly Unhittable, Dodgers No Match For Phillies

The population in Philly is thinking “Brotherly Lee”, rather than Brotherly Love, according to a sign a fan held up proudly. On a bone-chilling night, fans welcomed home the Philadelphia Phillies, believing for a second consecutive season that they can sustain back-to-back glory. It’s a town that doesn’t quit believing, and currently a town louder than people wearing blue in Mannywood.

For decades, the Phillies were humiliated, but was the first major franchise to celebrate, relieving dismay with a thrilling victory last season. In a hapless town, where winning titles never happened, the franchise accomplished a delightful deed. But other franchises in Philly haven’t been very successful reaching a pinnacle like the Phillies, who were the fortunate ones, capable of ending horrid droughts in an infatuated sports town.

It refreshes memories of the surreal finish a year ago, when the gifted left-hander Cole Hamels promptly emerged as a legend and was named Most Valuable Player for sensational effort on the mound. But more importantly, he led the Phillies to the most fascinating victory in franchise history, seesawing to their first championship since 1980.

So far, in the postseason, the pitching has what it takes to pummel the Dodgers for the second consecutive season, dismantling rapturous dreams of a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, Torre-Steinbrenner showdown.

Instead the world is possibly awaiting a Yankees-Phillies showdown, two franchises showcasing brilliant pitching mechanics. No doubt, most weren’t highly favoring the Phillies, and overlooked the powerful-arm and superb breaking ball thrower.

You ignored the reigning Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, who menacingly threw at the man in blue, gradually forestalling the Dodgers of advancing to the biggest stage. The Phillies are no match against the hitless team, now struggling to produce runs. A frenzied crowd will continuous erupt in Philly, if the sterling rotation tramples the fragile Dodgers' lineup.

Problem is the Dodgers aren’t getting enough out of their paltry rotation. Blame it on skipper Joe Torre, whose choices are anything but wise. Leaving Clayton Kershaw in the Game One for a long time, allowed the sensational ace to surrender runs. It might have been preventable if Torre summoned for a steady reliever.

It takes a blunder in one game to change the complexion of the series, and one game was enough to improvise momentum. Perhaps, Torre sacrificed a befitting rotation, juggling around pitchers, such as Hiroki Kuroda, who surrendered hits as the game turned into a horrific nightmare.

What is Torre thinking?

Sorry, but the intelligent team here appears to be the Phillies, knowing what type of pitches to throw at the Dodgers. It’s indeed a privilege to have a dominant ace, backing up Hamels and veteran Pedro Martinez. An experienced ace, with a wicked breaking ball, is an essential offering to the Phillies shaky bullpen. You never know where closer Brad Lidge’s state of mind is, and J.A Happ has a history of walking batters.

But Lee, a starter all of us slept on lasted eight innings, without allowing runs and walks. For the time being, refer to him as “Mr. October”, after becoming the first pitcher lasting eight innings without giving up runs and walks, while striking out 10.

It’s greatly impossible compiling hits against Lee, who merely has surrendered two runs in 24 1/3 postseason innings. It’s no better way to describe it, as his remarkable pitching, by far, is the best seen this postseason.

Before the trade deadline, rumors surfaced that the Phillies were set to make a trade with Toronto for ace Roy Halladay, but failed to agree on a deal. After all, the Phillies were smart enough to fortify their weaknesses, and surprisingly acquired Lee.

If they’d failed to acquire the ace, where would they be now? This season alone, he has boosted up their assurance and solidified the rotation. For much of the season, Lee has done exactly what he brought to our attention last night, dominating in the postseason with an unthinkable O.74 ERA. With brilliant command and location, it’s hard to envision anyone compiling hits on Lee, who continues smashing the strike zone.

He’s unhittable, he’s unstoppable, and he’s undeniable.

He highlighted a Phillies 11-0 rout, as well as slugger Ryan Howard, who became the first player to drive in a run in seven straight games in a single postseason, producing a two-run, triple in the first-inning. And former Dodger, Jayson Werth evoked damage by lacing a two-run shot over the center-field wall. From there, the Dodgers never looked back, amid Lee’s wonderful outing that dictated the Dodgers season.

Instead of Thinking Blue, Thinking Red is logical.