Phillies Notes: Lee deserved better after a big effort

Posted: July 20, 2012

LOS ANGELES - Another Cliff Lee start, another Phillies loss.

That's an old story by now, but the events that unfolded at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday afternoon were a little bit different from the usual.

Lee was at his absolute best against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing just one run and two hits in eight innings. He was long gone by the time Matt Kemp planted a game-winning, two-run home run into the right-center-field seats off reliever Jake Diekman in the bottom of the 12th inning, but his performance was not forgotten.

In fact, it was reminiscent of his last outing on the West Coast, when he pitched 10 shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants only to be left with a no-decision in a game the Phillies also lost.

"Similar, similar, yeah," Lee said.

Remarkably, Lee (1-6 with a 3.72 ERA) has made 16 starts this season and won only once. Equally hard to believe is the fact the Phillies have won only four of those starts.

Lee has started seven of the Phillies' 10 extra-inning games this season and been left with no decisions in all of them. He certainly deserved a better fate against the Dodgers.

"It is what it is," he said. "I can only control what I can control. I felt like I pitched a pretty good game. I made a mistake to [Juan] Rivera in the second, he hit a home run, and, other than that, it went really well."

Rivera's second-inning home run came on a 1-0 cut fastball, but it probably should have been caught, and if it had been, Lee would have had an opportunity to pitch a complete-game shutout.

Leftfielder John Mayberry Jr. tracked the fly ball as if he was going to catch it, but when he got to the back of the warning track he stood flat-footed as the ball hit off the top of the wall and bounced into the stands for a home run.

"I think if I would have jumped, I probably would have had it," Mayberry said. "I misjudged kind of how much space I had. I felt the warning track and obviously if I would have been able to get up to the wall I might have had a better chance of pulling it in."

The Phillies managed just one run while Lee was in the game, and for the ninth time in his 16 outings they scored three or fewer total runs.

Lee, having thrown just 89 pitches, was removed for pinch-hitter Jason Pridie with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning. The game was tied, 1-1, at the time, so manager Charlie Manuel had no real option other than to send up a pinch-hitter.

Pridie flied out weakly to left field to end the inning, leaving Lee with his ninth no-decision of the year.

"It's his call," Lee said. "We've got the bases loaded there in the ninth inning and my spot comes up and he feels like we should pinch-hit. I respect his decision there and I've got to go in the dugout and let him hit."

Extra bases. The Phillies are off Thursday, then begin a three-game series at home against the first-place San Francisco Giants on Friday. Pitching matchups for the series: Tim Lincecum (3-10, 5.93) vs. Vance Worley (5-5, 3.47) Friday; Matt Cain (10-2, 2.56) vs. Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.07) Saturday; and Barry Zito (8-6, 3.75) vs. Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.79) Sunday. . . . The Phillies have reached an agreement to extend their affiliation with the triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs through 2016. . . . Reliever Justin De Fratus, on the disabled list since the start of the season with a sprained elbow, was activated and optioned to Lehigh Valley.

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