Invisible Touch: Cliff Lee Owns the Marlins, Sets Some Cool Stat Benchmarks

Invisible Touch: Cliff Lee Owns the Marlins, Sets Some Cool Stat Benchmarks

That Cliff Lee is a badass is nothing new, that the Marlins are a terrible team is even un-newer. But tonight's performance from the Pfife Dog was nonetheless impressive by any standards, and did well to remind us that despite Cliff Lee's questionable status as a gargantuan-salaried pitcher on a sub-.500 team, we're pretty fortunate as a fanbase any time we get to watch this guy take the mound for us.

In eight innings of work tonight, Cliff Lee struck out 14 batters--a season-high, and the most he's struck out in a game for the Phillies since 2011, when he K'd a ridiculous 16 batters in seven innings (though he also let up three runs in a 3-0 loss to the Braves, overshadowing his impressive accomplishments some). He gave up a couple runs on eight hits (with no walks), but given that the Phils had already put seven on the board by the Marlins' first time across the plate, it was imminently forgivable. (The Phils would win 12-2, thanks to multi-run homers by Utley and Ruf and a whole bunch of other fun miscellaneous offense.)

Anyway, the 14 K's on the night gives Cliff a total of 201 for the season, which marks the third straight year he's cleared the 200 mark for the Fightins. Clayton Kershaw is the only other NL pitcher to have K'd 200 each of the last three years, and certainly something now other Phils pitcher has done this century. (Think you might have to go back to Lefty in the mid-'70s to find the last Phillies example, but someone with a paid B-R account is gonna have to double-check me on that.)

That was only half the story for Cliff last night, though. Our nine-hole hitter also went 3-4 at the plate, with a triple--his first in 292 career PAs--and four RBIs. Courtesy of ESPN Stats comes these delightfully obscure pieces of statistical ephemera:

Well. Any night you can match an historic outing by an Oscar-winning singer/drummer at the plate is a night to remember, indeed. Thanks for keeping it real in the face of all fakeness, Clifton. Hope you're still on the team next year.

VIDEO:

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Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

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USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

The Phillies were beaten, 4-0, by the Washington Nationals on Monday night, but wins and losses don’t matter as much as development in a rebuilding season, so there was a bright spot: Rookie right-hander Jake Thompson finally broke through with a good start in holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings.
 
The Phillies’ offense was not good. It produced just four hits on the night.
 
Washington got all the offense it needed when Jayson Werth, the second batter of the game, homered off Thompson in the first inning.

The Nats lead the NL East at 76-55. The Phils are 60-71.
 
The crowd of 16,056 was the smallest of the season at Citizens Bank Park.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson had struggled in four starts – 9.78 ERA – since arriving from Triple A and there were questions whether he’d even make this start. But he put together a nice outing. After giving up two runs in the first inning, he pitched six straight scoreless innings, finishing his outing with three strikeouts, the last of which came on his 111th pitch when he froze Trea Turner with a breaking ball with two men on base. Thompson allowed seven hits – four in the first three innings – and walked one.
 
Washington right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings to improve to 14-7. He held the Phils to four hits and a walk and struck out five.

Bullpen report
Frank Herrmann gave up two runs in the ninth.
 
At the plate
Odubel Herrera had two of the Phillies’ four hits.
 
Werth’s homer in the top of the first was his 19th. Anthony Rendon drove in a run with a two-out single in that inning. Clint Robinson and Turner had RBI singles in the ninth to push the Nats’ lead to 4-0.
 
ICYMI
Herrera is staying in center field for the remainder of the season, Pete Mackanin said (see story).
 
Up next
The series continues on Tuesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87) pitches against Washington right-hander Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92).

Eagles sign Soul DT Jake Metz following workout

Eagles sign Soul DT Jake Metz following workout

Jake Metz has gone from the Soul to the Eagles.

Soul majority owner Ron Jaworski on Monday night tweeted a congratulatory message about the defensive tackle signing with the Eagles.

Metz and Soul wide receiver Darius Reynolds, fresh off an ArenaBowl title last Friday, worked out for the Eagles this afternoon before practice. Metz is the 74th player on the roster, which means the team is still below the next cut line — which is Tuesday at 4 p.m. — of 75. The Eagles' roster has to be at 53 by 4 p.m. on Sept. 3.

Metz, 25, graduated from Souderton Area High School and played his college ball at Shippensburg University. For the Arena Football League champions, Metz posted Soul highs in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (10).

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

A couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said there was a chance he could look at Odubel Herrera in a corner outfield spot over the final weeks of the season.

Scrub that idea.

“Not this year,” Mackanin said Monday. “If we decide we're going to do that, we'll encourage him to play a corner in winter ball and then in spring training, if that's what we decide to do.

“I thought about doing that. But I don't know if we want to do that now. We’ll just let him get back on track offensively. I won't say it won't happen here or there. But we're not going to make that move right now.

“Let's try to keep his mind as uncluttered as possible right now. It looks a little cluttered.”

The Phillies have thought about moving Herrera to a corner spot because they have a top center field prospect in Roman Quinn. Also, Aaron Altherr is an excellent defender in center.

Quinn seemed to be on target for a call up after the Eastern League playoffs, but that could be in doubt now that he’s on the disabled list with a concussion.

Still, Quinn may be this club’s centerfielder of the future. And behind him is Mickey Moniak, this year’s top draft pick. He’s a ways away. But it’s worth wondering if the Phillies believe Herrera’s future is at a corner outfield spot. Or whether Herrera will be wintertime trade bait.

Mackanin was asked if he believed Herrera’s future would be in a corner spot.

“You know, I'd rather not really even comment on that,” he said. “I don't want him to think that we're not pleased with him. I just want to keep him confident the rest of the season.”

Herrera’s defense in center field has slipped this season.

“He was better last year defensively,” Mackanin said. “He's made a lot of mistakes this year. I think we've all seen that. But that doesn't mean he's not going to play center field anymore. There's another month left to see what happens.”

Herrera was the Phillies’ lone representative in the All-Star Game. He hit .294 with a .378 on-base percentage and a .427 slugging percentage before the All-Star break. Since then, however, he was hitting .252 with a .314 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage entering play Monday night.