“I regret the walk.” Seriously? Cliff Lee topped Roy Halladay’s complete game six hitter yesterday by throwing a three hit shutout while striking out twelve versus the Nationals tonight. We all made googley eyes at Cliff with his last start getting further and further away as he carved through the National’s line-up. A Danny Espinosa double in the bottom of the third inning was the only time that the Nationals found a way to get a man in scoring position. Espinosa was thrown out by Jimmy Rollins with the infield drawn in later in the inning thus ending the only semblance of a threat that Washington could muster tonight.
Lee’s opposition in the game was 24 year old right hander Jordan Zimmerman. The Phils have had success against Zimmerman posting a collective .379 batting average to this point in his career. Zimmerman was perfect through five innings before allowing a solo home run to Carlos Ruiz with his first pitch of the sixth inning. The young pitcher acquitted himself very well today with by going seven innings, allowing five hits and four runs (one earned). Zimmerman is one of the young players that the Nationals are counting on to bring them out of the suck hole they have been mired in since they arrived from Montreal. If tonight is any indication, Zimmerman could turn into a decent major league pitcher. Maybe someday, he could supplant John Lannan or Livan Hernandez as best pitcher on the Nationals.
The Phils offense was quiet today, struggling against Zimmerman and only hitting few balls hard all day. Chooch was the offensive star today going 2-4 with two runs scored and the aforementioned home run. Placido Polanco drove in a run in the top of the eight with an RBI groundout and Jimmy Rollins drove in his first run of the year with an RBI single later in the inning giving the Phils a 4-0 lead.
It was also encouraging to see Ryan Howard play tonight after being maliciously beaned by the guy who broke Chase Utley’s hand a few years ago. Howard went 0-4 with a strikeout, but it was nice to see him in the line-up.
Tomorrow night at 7:05, the Phillies send out Roy Oswalt to oppose the Florida Marlins. Javier Vasquez and his 8.64 ERA will start for Florida.