The Phillies offense is still a little quiet, but a Ryan Howard solo home run was all Cliff Lee needed to beat his former team. John Mayberry Jr would add an insurance run, and Clifton and Ryan Madson combined for a 2-0 shutout of the Rangers.
Lee was phenomenal, notching 10 Ks against 5 hits and 2 walks. His curveball was beastly, which was key against familiar foes. Jim Salisbury reports that Lee tried to use his fastball less because his former Ranger teammates know how much he usually likes to throw it. Simple enough strategy, but it appeared to work like a spell, with flailing swings missing Lee's big hooks by a wide margin.
As if that weren't enough, Lee even stole second base after a fifth inning single.
It was uncontested by the Rangers with Wilson Valdez sitting on third, but still fun to see Lee add to his legend by swiping a bag.
The pitcher said he got a little help from the dugout, with Shane Victorino yelling for him to take second. Naturally. I can only imagine what that sounded like.
Howard's homer snapped an 0-23 skid, and he'd later add a single to finish at 2-4 on the night. Domonic Brown got the start in right and batted second. He went 0-4, but had us all on our feet with a long fly ball with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth.
Madson earned his ninth save of the season, further solidifying his stake to the closer claim no matter who comes off the DL. Doggie allowed a single, but then induced a double play and a fly out to end the night for the Phifer.
POSTGAME GLOW VIDEO
Here's Charlie and Cliff after the game, with Lee giving the nod to Shane's SB advice.
Roy Oswalt will face Matt Harrison as the Phils go for a home interleague sweep over the Rangers today at 1:35.
What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?
In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."
It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.
And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.
"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?
The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.
Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.
If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.
"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."
That makes one of us.
The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.
Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.
He later made the announcement on Twitter.
Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.
Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.
"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."
Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.