Phillies Notes: Lee can't locate his cutter but still finds a win

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) and starting pitcher Cliff Lee (33) conference during the fifth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) and starting pitcher Cliff Lee (33) conference during the fifth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Posted: April 02, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas - When Jimmy Rollins crushed a grand slam that spawned a six-run Phillies lead in the second inning Monday, Larry Bowa thought, "It's over." The bench coach was not alone. Cliff Lee had made 99 straight starts without allowing more than six earned runs.

The lead vanished by the third inning. Lee endured five lackluster innings but still earned the win, and Bowa found beauty in that.

"All those games I watched when I was at MLB [Network], he was losing 1-0 or 2-1," Bowa said, "so justice was served today."

Lee became the first Phillies pitcher to earn a win while allowing eight or more earned runs since Dick Ruthven in 1981. He permitted seven runs all spring, but his trustworthy cutter never abandoned him then like it did Monday.

The Phillies, because the game ended in victory, were willing to brush the pitcher's difficulties aside.

"He lost his cutter, believe it or not," Rollins said. "That's his bread-and-butter pitch and he had to throw a lot of fastballs and they took advantage of it. When a pitcher loses a pitch, it's like a green light on him. We were able to give him enough runs and you're not going to see that Cliff too many more times - hopefully never."

Lee said the potent Rangers lineup hit good pitches, but there were more mistakes than usual.

"I missed over the plate quite a bit," Lee said.

Hello, Nix

The Phillies traded for Jayson Nix late Friday night, but the native Texan never arrived in Philadelphia. He waited near Dallas for his new teammates to arrive. Nix, who spent the spring with Tampa Bay, provides infield versatility. The 31-year-old could see immediate playing time at shortstop when Rollins departs the team for the birth of his second child, expected soon.

Jayson is the younger brother of Laynce, who was released by the Phillies last summer after two seasons of service. Laynce is now retired.

"He enjoyed his time here," Jayson said. "He's told me a little bit about it. It's different people. I'll make my own impressions."

Extra bases

Cole Hamels (shoulder) traveled with his teammates and threw a bullpen session Monday. He will fly to Florida and pitch in an extended spring training game Tuesday as he continues to build arm strength. . . . The opening-day roster had 15 players on it who weren't with the Phillies for the opener last year. Seven of them - Cody Asche, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Cesar Hernandez, Mario Hollands, Brad Lincoln, and B.J. Rosenberg - made their first opening-day roster. . . . The Phillies will wear a "CB" patch all season to honor Claire Betz, a longtime ownership partner who died in February.


 

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