The Evster's Top Six Reasons to Keep Cliff Lee

The Evster's Top Six Reasons to Keep Cliff Lee

Full disclosure: I have watched a grand total of five innings of Phillies baseball this year, and four of those innings were on Tuesday night. (I really like that Jeff Mayberry fella!) But despite my lack of viewing, I still follow what's going on, am aware that Cliff Lee has been amazing, and am not a total bozo -- so when I heard last week that Ruben Amaro was shopping Cliff Lee (AGAIN), I had a mini-meltdown.

This is Cliff Lee we're talking about! 7-2, 2.45ERA, sprints off the mound in between innings, Cliff Lee! Why does he continue to be tossed around the league like Alyssa Milano?! Is nothing sacred?!

Ugh.

So here are my Top Six Reasons to Absolutely, Positively, Not Trade Cliff Lee

Reason #1 - Trading for Prospects is Friggin' Dumb

In the past four years, Cliff Lee has been traded three times, and in each one of those trades the team dealing Lee hasn't gotten dick.

In 2009, the Phils traded Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp and BIG DADDY LOU MARSON for Lee. If you recall, the Indians WOULD NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES do the deal if Carrasco was not involved. Since then, Carrasco has won 10 career games, and is currently TEARING IT UP in the minors. Before being sent down to AAA this April, he posted an ERA of 17.18 for the Indians. Did you read that correctly? Go back and look at that statistic again. The guy had an earned run average of SEVENTEEN POINT ONE EIGHT. If/when Carrasco is recalled, he'll also have to serve an 8-game suspension for repeatedly throwing at batters. Also, Marson is 0 for 3 on the season, and has a lifetime batting average of .219.

Later that year, Amaro dealt Lee to Seattle for 2023 Cy Young Award winner, J.C. Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont (he's from Quebec!) and Tyson Gillies, who according to Wikipedia is nicknamed "The Hamster" because of his recurring hamstring injuries.

YOU WANT MORE PROOF THAT TRADING CLIFF LEE SUCKS BUTT?

In 2010, Lee was traded from Seattle to Texas for Justin SMUH-SMUH-SMUH-SMOAKE (.240 -- 3HR -- 8RBI this year), Blake Beaven (real name!), Josh Leuke (aka Josh Puke) and Matt Lawson (currently poppin' bottles for AAA Columbus at a .250 clip).

Trade value schmade value!

Reason #2 - Cliff Lee Actually Wants to Live in Philadelphia

Dude, I know, if you give it your all here, no one will love you more than Philly fans. John's Roast Pork is the greatest. Beanie Sigel actually shoots people. Philly 4 Lyfe. Whatever. No human being in their right mind actually wants to live in Philadelphia. Last week, when it was 93% humidity, I wore seven pairs of underwear in one day. My next-door neighbor has rocked jean shorts for three straight weeks. If it wasn't for your stupid friends and family, you would've moved to Barcelona years ago. Have you ever seen a Catalan woman Flamenco dance? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CATALAN WOMAN FLAMENCO DANCE?

So after playing in three cities in two years, Cliff and his family decided they wanted to settle down. Enough with the moving, the living out of boxes, the kids having to switch schools over and over. And seeing as the Lees could choose WHEREVER THEY WANTED TO LIVE, they chose Philadelphia. The guy and his wife -- actual human beings -- chose Philadelphia. THAT'S WEIRD.

Do you remember how much you hate Scott Rolen? Because for all intents and purposes, Scott Rolen was the QUINTESSENTIAL Philly ballplayer. Do you remember why you hate Scott Rolen?

It's nice to have someone who wants to be here.

And it's nice to not live out of a stinkin' box! The last time I moved was five years ago and I still have no idea where my NBA Superstars tape is.

Reason #3 - That Amazing Catch vs. the Yankees

Doc's reverse scooper vs. the Lakers, Wes Hopkins breaking Ernest Givins's nose, and Cliff Lee's basket catch in the World Series. We already knew he was a pimp, but Lee solidified himself as my wife's favorite athlete of all time after that catch. When I play company softball at the Belmont Plateau, I stand out in left field dreaming of making a play like Cliff's. Last Tuesday, I took a slice of pizza out with me to the field, just to give myself a better chance of making that dream a reality. So there I was, shoveling pepperoni into my face, when a lazy fly ball was hit right toward me. This was the moment I'd been waiting my whole office career for, making a catch while eating dinner. The chicks who I work with were gonna love it, they'd be sending me selfies in no time. And then as the ball came down, I panicked, threw my pizza on the ground and made a stupid, fundamental two-handed grab. Rickey Henderson woulda scoffed. Then a dude came zipping by a 4-wheeler and I screamed like a mule. I have not showed my face in the office since.

#4 - But Evster, Trading Cliff Lee Will Free Up Lots of Money

Shut up. There's no salary cap in baseball. Money doesn't matter. The Phils organization makes plenty of dough already and can spend as much or as little as they choose.

#5 Name One Person Named Cliff Who You Don't Like

It's impossible. Cliff Huxtable, Cliff Robinson, Cliff Clavin. Three for three, all solid dudes. Plus, my brother's college roommate was named Cliff and when I was 13, he gave me a stack of nudie mags. Yes, most of them were from the 70s and featured ladies wearing tube socks, but they were still women and they were still (almost) naked, and for that I am forever grateful.

#6 Gotta Give the Lee-Halladay-Hamels Rotation One Stinkin' Chance Before Blowin' It Up

The Phillies put this staff together for a reason. Get us to the playoffs and these guys will do the rest. Granted, most of the guys on this team stink (lookin' at you, Laynce), Roy Halladay's arm might fall off at any moment (he'll be fine), and before Wednesday night, Cole Hamels was lookin' more like Carlos Carrasco (figuratively!). So with Lee still in town, combined with KAPTAIN KYLE KENDRICK and a late September pickup of , oh, I dunno, Pedro Martinez, we'll be poised to make another championship run.

That is of course if someone on this team besides Dominic Brown can learn how to hit a friggin' baseball.

Cliff Lee is batting .281 this year by the way.

You tellin' me he can't hit in the 2-hole?

Also, did someone in this world really name their son, Tyler Cloyd?

The Evster writes the blog TV My Wife Watches where he writes about TV his wife watches. Follow him on Twitter @TVMWW. Or look at this picture of a cow. He's a nice cow. 

Phillies look to 'keep grinding' after latest rough loss to Rockies

Phillies look to 'keep grinding' after latest rough loss to Rockies

BOX SCORE

The Phillies have scored just two runs in 13 innings against a pair of rookie starting pitchers and the eventual outcome has been two losses to the Colorado Rockies the last couple of nights. The latest was an 8-2 setback on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay). That followed an 8-1 loss on Monday night.

What's happening right now at Citizens Bank Park is ugly. The Phillies are in the midst of a freefall that has seen them lose 19 of their last 23 games. They have been outscored 134-91 over that span.

Now, before we completely lose perspective here, the Phillies remain a building team and they were not expected to contend this season. But they weren't supposed to be this bad, either, and right now they are embarrassingly bad at 15-28.

John Middleton, the team's fiery managing partner, watched several innings of Tuesday night's debacle sitting beside Andy MacPhail in the club president's box. Oh, to have been a fly on that wall. Middleton is committed to a patient rebuild from the ground up, but he's also a man who has made it no secret that he likes to win a little. The show that the Phillies are putting on out on the field these days can't sit well with him. Surely it's not sitting well with the fans. Tuesday night's attendance was just 17,109, the lowest of the season, and many in that group headed home after Gerardo Parra's sixth-inning homer gave the Rockies an 8-1 lead.

"We're just in a big rut right now," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis added that he couldn't remember going through anything this bad.

"We have to keep grinding," he said. "Keep grinding, man. It's pretty tough right now."

Tuesday night's loss offered a tale of two young pitchers. Zach Eflin, the Phillies' 23-year-old right-hander and a veteran of just 18 big-league starts, was hit hard. Meanwhile, German Marquez, the Rockies' 22-year-old rookie, was impressive. He held the Phillies to one run over six innings. He twice faced bases-loaded jams and gave up just one run when he walked a batter.

On Monday night, the Phils were held to one run over seven innings by another rookie, Jeff Hoffman.

Rookie pitchers are often good medicine for struggling teams.

"That's the way I look at it," Mackanin said. "Unfortunately it hasn't happened.

"I know we're better than this. I think the team knows they're better than this. I can't fault the hustle. Someone might say there's no energy. Well, when you don't get any hits, there's no energy."

The Phillies have scored just three runs in the last three games.

The scarcity of runs gives the pitching very little room for error. But in this game, Eflin simply did not keep it close. He gave up 10 hits and eight runs over six innings of work. Phillies killer Charlie Blackmon torched Eflin for a pair of two-run homers and Parra got him for a solo shot.

"A poor outing," Mackanin said of Eflin's work. "He couldn't locate. The ball was up in the zone. He's struggling to keep the ball down.

"When he struck out Blackmon in the first inning, it was a two-seamer with great movement, I thought we're in for a good outing here. But then he couldn't keep the ball down. You have to pitch down or you're going to get hurt."

Eflin has given up 21 hits and 15 runs in his last two starts.

"It's frustrating, but it happens. It's baseball," he said. "There are going to be a lot of times in my career where I give up a lot of hits and a lot of runs. But I'm really not worried about it right now. I know that I'm going to continue to work hard and go out every fifth day and, you know, put up a line of winning baseball."

Blackmon has seven home runs in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park. He has three multi-homer games in Philadelphia.

"He seems to like hitting here," Eflin said. "But I just have to execute pitches. There's no excuse. I just have to be on top of my game."

Right now, the Phillies are at the bottom of their game.

"We have to stay together as a team and keep fighting, try to get out of what's happening right now," Galvis said. "It's a really tough situation, but we have keep playing hard."

NHL Playoffs Senators battle past Penguins to force Game 7

NHL Playoffs Senators battle past Penguins to force Game 7

BOX SCORE

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators bounced back nicely two days after a blowout loss put them on the brink of elimination.

Anderson stopped 45 shots, Mike Hoffman scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 Tuesday night to force a decisive Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The 36-year-old Anderson was coming off a pair of rough outings, including Sunday when he was pulled after yielding four goals in Ottawa's 7-0 loss in Game 5 at Pittsburgh.

"You can't change what happens in the past," said Anderson, who has credited work with a sports psychologist early in his career for helping him manage the mental side of the game. "From that moment on you have to look forward and get ready for the next one."

Hoffman fired a slap shot through traffic off a pass from Fredrik Claesson to put the Senators ahead at 1:34 of the third. Bobby Ryan also scored a rare power-play goal for Ottawa.

It was quite a response after the drubbing in the previous game.

"I think the biggest message for us was if somebody told us back in training camp in September that we'd have an opportunity to win Game 6 in the Eastern Conference final at home in front of our fans we would've taken it," Ryan said. "So let's not dwell, let's not kick ourselves and put our heads down. Let's embrace this opportunity to extend this for two more days together and go from there."

Evgeni Malkin gave Pittsburgh, vying for its second straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the lead early in the second period and Matt Murray finished with 28 saves.

"I thought we played a real good game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I thought we dominated zone time. We had lots of chances. We didn't score tonight. The puck didn't go in the net, but if we continue to play the game that way, then I believe we'll get the result."

Game 7 is Thursday night in Pittsburgh, with the winner advancing to face the Nashville Predators for the championship.

Ottawa was primarily looking for a return to structure in Game 6, beginning with a smoother start -- which they got. Notable in a scoreless opening period were two effective penalty kills, one of which saw Viktor Stalberg get the best opportunity short-handed.

Pittsburgh had four shots with the man advantage, but Anderson stopped them all. It was evident early that he had his game back in this one. He stopped Nick Bonino off a rebound in transition, Scott Wilson off a deflected shot by Phil Kessel, and Bonino again when Kyle Turris gave the puck away.

Anderson then stopped 22 of 23 shots in the second period.

"I think Anderson was the reason that they got this one, he played big for them," Murray said. "But in our room we just focus on what we need to do. We played really well, we just didn't get the bounces and weren't able to put one home."

Anderson's performance was a reminder for Senators coach Guy Boucher of why he took the job with Ottawa in the first place last May.

"I'll be honest with you, if I didn't have a No. 1 goalie, I didn't want the job," Boucher said. "I've lived it for quite a few years, and it's hell when you don't have it because everything you do turns to darkness, and there's nothing that really matters when you don't have a real No. 1 goaltender.

"It's like a quarterback in football and a pitcher in baseball, and we have it," Boucher added.

Murray was also sharp. The 22-year-old, who replaced Marc-Andre Fleury after Game 3, made maybe his finest save of the first on Derick Brassard, who found an open lane down the middle of the ice following a pass from Ryan.

The Penguins appeared to have opened the scoring just over three minutes into the second, but Trevor Daley was deemed to have interfered with Anderson following an Ottawa challenge.

Less than two minutes later though, Pittsburgh took the 1-0 lead anyway off a few moments of brilliance from Malkin. The playoff scoring leading (24 points) bounced off a check from Zack Smith behind the goal and after being stopped on his drive to the net, followed up with a nifty backhand rebound to beat Anderson.

It was the 153rd career playoff point in 142 games for Malkin -- three back of Sidney Crosby for second among active players behind Jaromir Jagr -- who had been jarring with Hoffman a few minutes earlier.

The Senators had little going until a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage for 1:24 just past the midway point of the period. The Ottawa power play, which had gone 0 for 29 in the previous 10 games, came through with Ryan ultimately wiring a one-timer short-side to tie the score.

It was the sixth goal and 15th point of the playoffs for Ryan, who is second on the Senators behind captain Erik Karlsson (16 points).