Cliff Lee takes the hill tonight as the Phillies attempt to win their fourth straight series to kick of the 2011 season and finish off their first road swing with a healthy 4-2 record. Clifton has only faced the Nationals twice in his career, but won both of those outings. He's coming off of that rough outing in Atlanta that we'd all like to forget about. Hopefully the Nationals can help him bring that 7.84 ERA back down closer to where we'd like it to be.
Our colleague over at Beerleaguer points to Sports Illustrated's baseball preview that quoted a scout as noticing something off about Lee this spring, "There've been rumblings and grumblings that Lee hasn't been completely right since early in spring, a murmur that began when a rival scout saw him this spring and raised the possibility that he's been nursing a sore back. The scout's words were published in Sports Illustrated's baseball preview, with Lee front and center on the cover. The scout observed that Lee wasn't getting the downward tilt on his pitches the way we're accustomed to seeing."
We haven't head anything about this recently, but as Jason points out, it's something to keep an eye on.
The Nationals will counter with Jordan Zimmerman (1-1, 3.18) who has not fared well against the Phils in two career starts against them in which he was 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA.
Ryan Howard, who was plunked in the hand by the Evil John Lannan in last night's victory, appears to be okay and will bat in his usual fourth spot in the Phillies lineup.
Tonight's 7:05 start will be on TCN locally and on MLBN for all of you displaced Philly fans.