In sports, the championship teams are usually the teams which can win any type of game. The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies are demonstrating that they can win in high-scoring slugfests and in low-scoring pitching duels. Cliff Lee pitched eight shutout innings and hit his second home run of the season in a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In eight innings of work, Lee struck out 10 hitters for the eighth time this season (and the 17th time in his career). Lee improved to 12-7 with a 2.83 ERA. Lee is currently 2-o with a 0.00 ERA (17 shutout innings) in the month of August. In June, Lee went on an incredible hot streak and went 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA. His two performances in August may be a sign of such another streak.
Jimmy Rollins had an RBI double in the third inning to give the Phillies the 1-0 lead. In July, Rollins hit .312 in 25 games and led the Phillies to a 17-8 record that month. The Phillies are currently 11-1 in their last 12 games and are now 36 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1977 season.
Ryan Madson picked up his 21st save of the season, despite allowing a run in the ninth inning. This was the first time Madson allowed a run of any sort in his past nine outings. Madson is now 3-1 on the season with 21 saves and a 1.99 ERA.
Although Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton battled injuries this season, Roy Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels have dominated and made this season’s pitching rotation a memorable one. Halladay, Lee and Hamels are currently combined for a 40-17 record with a 2.62 ERA and 8.57 strikeouts per nine innings. All three have sub-3.00 ERAs (Halladay at 2.51, Lee at 2.83 and Hamels at 2.53).
Vance Worley (8-1, 2.35 ERA) is scheduled to pitch the next game. Worley’s lone loss came on May 29; since then, Worley is 6-0 in nine starts with a 2.03 ERA.