Lee out to deliver encore performance
Philadelphia (60-45) vs. Colorado (59-48), 1:05 p.m. ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Cliff Lee made quite the first impression with the Phillies.He tossed a complete-game four-hitter Friday, baffling the Giants in a 5-1 win at AT&T Park. Against the Rockies on Thursday, the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner gets to introduce himself to the notoriously tough Philadelphia faithful. "Whatever, it is what it is," said Lee, whom the Phillies acquired along with outfielder Ben Francisco from the Indians on July 29. "If you do well, they cheer. If you do bad, they boo. That's the way it should be, I guess. Hopefully I can do my job and give them reasons to cheer." That job will be slightly harder at Citizens Bank Park. Lee will benefit from pitching in the National League; with the Indians, he was 12-2 with a 3.18 ERA and .245 opponents' batting average in Interleague Play. Lee will also benefit from the Phillies' potent offense; this season, he had the eighth-worst run support in the American League. But he could be hampered by Philadelphia's hitter-friendly home yard. "Obviously, there's no disputing how it is a hitters' ballpark," Lee said. "But we've got a pretty good offense. It's even for both sides and I'll take my chances." The coaching staff is unconcerned. "I've never seen him pitch bad -- I think he can pitch anywhere," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I don't think it's going to hurt him at all. ... Probably he's going to pitch the same way everywhere we go." Added pitching coach Rich Dubee: "He's got great stuff. Why would he change? If you change in this ballpark, it's the worst ballpark to change in. He's very aggressive, he pounds the strike zone -- that's what you do in this ballpark." Lee, who went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA last season, said that he has been welcomed with open arms. The transition to the Phils has been perfectly smooth -- except, that is, for making his way around Philadelphia. "Having to get north and south and east and west, and not knowing where everything is, is going to be the toughest part," said Lee, who did manage find an apartment downtown. "I drove around a little bit [Monday] and tried to get my bearings straight. It's a pretty big city. I've got a lot more learning to do." On the mound, however, he's looked quite educated. The 30-year-old lefty posted a 3.14 ERA before the trade and shined in Saturday's debut.
"After Thursday, I'll have made two starts and pitched here and [be] that much more comfortable with the situation and the environment and my surroundings," said Lee, who has never faced the Rockies. "I'm anxious to put that behind me and just kind of relax and get on a roll and give the team a chance to win."
PHI: LHP Cliff Lee (8-9, 3.02 ERA)
Lee couldn't have had a much better debut for the Phillies on Friday against the Giants at AT&T Park. He threw a complete game. He allowed one run, four hits and two walks in a 5-1 victory. He struck out six. Oh, he also went 2-for-4 with a double -- the first extra-base hit of his career. He worked efficiently and effectively, and made the Phillies feel pretty good about acquiring him July 29 from the Indians for prospects Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Jason Donald and Jason Knapp.
Cook was solid for most of his 6 2/3 innings in Friday night's Rockies victory over the Reds, but he didn't figure in the decision. His biggest problem, besides the consecutive home runs by Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in the sixth, was the Rockies didn't find their offensive stride until late in the game. Cook gave up seven hits but forced 10 ground-ball outs. He'll need to keep the ball low against the dangerous Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, a similar bandbox to Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. Tidbits
Center fielder Shane Victorino, who was out of the lineup for four consecutive games because of a bruised left knee, appeared OK after going 2-for-4 on Tuesday and 1-for-4 on Wednesday. "Yeah, he seems fine," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He ran good." ... Shortstop Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to 11 games Wednesday with a two-run homer in the second inning. Tickets
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WPHT 1210, WUBA 1480 (Español) Up next
Friday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 7-5, 4.02) vs. Marlins (Ricky Nolasco, 7-7, 5.00), 7:35 p.m. ET
Saturday: Phillies (Cole Hamels, 7-6, 4.68) vs. Marlins (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 10-8, 5.55) vs. Marlins (Josh Johnson, 10-2, 2.98), 1:35 p.m. ET
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.