Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.85 ERA)
One fun little factoid sure to surface today is the fact that Cliff has never beaten the Brewers. This season, it feels like every team has been the Brewers. Though obviously that’s a fallacy or we’d be sick to death of dramatic 7-6 comeback wins.
It’s been a long season for Cliff, struggling on the mound, getting no run support, getting caught in the trade rumors, being claimed by the Dodgers, and giving up six runs to the Brewers on 12 hits. It was disgusting.
Meanwhile, a few days ago, the center piece of the prospect package we gave up to originally acquire Cliff Lee, RHP Jason Knapp, was released by the Indians. Which is a sign of some kind, just of what and meaning what we have no idea. Yet. In the interim, we can merely hope that if Cliff Lee has been following quality Doc-starts with disasters this season, perhaps he will follow a messy Doc-tart with a gem.
Marco Estrada (0-5, 4.36 ERA)
But the guy we’re facing hasn’t won at all, so even Cliff Lee should be able to be effective against him.
We all watched as Cliff notched his first win and chuckled at the horrible novelty of such a skilled starter taking so long to complete a simple pitching task. Well, on some teams, the guy with no wins still doesn’t have a win, and instead of laughing or talking about it, everyone just sits in rigid, silent horror at how terrible everything is going.
Over 14 starts, Estrada can’t get that win–which any analyst will explain is a pitchers’ most crucial stat–not when he pitches well, not when he throws against the Astros, not ever. It’s been over a year. And in his last start against the Phillies, of course, he gave up five runs in four innings, supplementing that pretty little 7.84 career ERA he’s got in Philadelphia.
”It was the worst I’ve felt all year, and I let a bad team beat me.”
–Marco Estrada on getting beat by the Astros
The important thing to remember is that Ryan Braun is hitting .143 in 10 games previous, to the point that he begged to be kept out of the lineup yesterday in Colorado. Offensively, they are very close to us; loading bases, but getting no runs; an inability to get that big hit at the right time, or even a small hit at the wrong time; and one of their key players is turning into dust right in front of everyone.
The Phillies offense really proved itself, beating up on a weaker team until two runs finally wasn’t enough to win. Their hottest player is, unfortunately, Kyle Kendrick, so the best we can hope for is that KK grabs a bat and drives in 5+ runs, despite not starting in the game and being one of the most meaningless hitters on record.
The Brewers are coming off another blown save, which means they’re riding that same momentum they left Philly with. John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, and Jim Henderson have all gotten a turn as closer, and not one of them has been blessed with three quiet outs. The ninth inning turns into a whirlwind of bullshit on an almost nightly basis. We can hope to take advantage of this, but, hey; we’re not the Astros.