Friday, March 18, 2011

Lee struggles again as Phils fall 7-6

Cliff Lee's spring struggles continued against Toronto yesterday, as the Phillies fell to the Blue Jays 7-6. Lee pitched four innings, allowing seven hits, five runs (three earned), two home runs, one walk and four strikeouts. He drops to 1-2 while his ERA rises to 5.54.

The Phils got off to a fast start in the bottom of the first when Shane Victorino ripped a two-run homer after Jimmy Rollins singled, putting the Phils ahead 2-0.

Lee took the mound in the fourth having only allowed two hits with the lead intact. Jose Bautista reached to lead-off the inning on a Josh Barfield throwing error. Adam Lind followed with a double before a Juan Rivera home run, and the lead was gone.

After striking out Travis Snider, Edwin Encarnacion followed with a solo shot. Then came a single, a double and a sac fly to cap the scoring against Lee. It was another disappointing outing for one of the prized free agents this off-season.

It's only spring training, and we don't want to read too far into anything, but is there reason for concern? It's not like there's a switch and when the regular season starts, Lee will flip it and return to his dominant form. Pitchers try to work on certain pitches during the spring; but they're also trying to get outs, especially when they get into jams. Lee was not able to work out of any jams yesterday.

Antonio Bastardo and Make Zagurski each threw a scoreless inning. Zagurski struck out the side in the ninth. Kyle Kendrick was average in his three innings of work, allowing seven hits, two runs (one earned), no walks and one strikeout.

Michael Martinez, competing for a spot as a back-up infielder, went 2-for-4 with his second home run of the spring. He's hitting .325.

The Phillies certainly seem to be grooming John Mayberry to be a versatile addition to the club. While naturally an outfielder, and the Phillies need outfield help, Mayberry is also seeing a lot of time at first base after Ryan Howard exists games. Mayberry has a real shot at making the team as a back-up left and right-fielder, first baseman and right-handed bat off the bench.

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