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 conclude miserable homestand with new low as Zach Eflin demoted to Triple A

Phillies conclude miserable homestand with new low as Zach Eflin demoted to Triple A

BOX SCORE

For a moment Sunday afternoon, Citizens Bank Park sprung to life as the Phillies strung together five hits in a four-run second inning.

But four home runs off starter Zach Eflin sent the Phillies to another defeat and Eflin to Lehigh Valley.

Eflin was optioned to Triple A following the Phillies' 8-4 loss to the Reds, in which he allowed seven runs on nine hits in just five innings of work (see Instant Replay)

"His first two-three outings were really good," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He was keeping the ball down, but his last three, including today, he's elevating his sinker and once you elevate that sinker, it doesn't have the effect that you'd like to have."

The Phillies have now lost nine consecutive series for the first time since 1997. The loss was their 22nd in 28 games and handed the Reds their first series win at CBP since August 2006.  

Eflin got off to a rocky start Sunday with three first-inning singles, allowing one run. He escaped further damage but then proceeded to give up a home run in each of his final four innings. The final home run — Adam Duvall's second on the day — came on an 0-2 pitch and extended Cincinnati's lead to 7-4. All of the Reds' hits off Eflin came on fastballs as their potent lineup feasted on his pitches high in the zone.

Two weeks ago, Eflin's ERA stood at 2.87 as he kept opponents in the ballpark with his hard sinker. However, starting with a May 17 outing in Texas, Eflin has allowed 22 runs in his last 15 innings. He's given up seven homers in his last two starts and at least nine hits in five consecutive outings as his ERA ballooned to 6.13. With Sunday's results, the Phillies were left little choice but to option the 23-year-old righty while he deals with a rough patch.

"There are some things I need to work on," Eflin said. "I need to do a better job of pitching backward, especially in fastball counts. There's a lot of things I need to work on, but at the end of the day, I'm not worried about it. I'm going to go down there, work on everything I need to work on and get back as soon as possible."

The Phillies will reinstate Howie Kendrick (oblique) off the 10-day disabled list Monday, Mackanin said, in a corresponding move after the veteran IF/OF completed a four-game rehab stint (see story)

Kendrick could help boost an offense that is scuffling. After a four-run second inning highlighted by Andrew Knapp's 434-foot three-run home run, the Phillies' bats fell silent. They strung together five more hits. However, three double plays and a few untimely strikeouts killed any further rallies.

The Phillies left a potential run stranded on third base in the fifth inning as Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr struck out against starter Scott Feldman, who waded into and out of trouble in five innings of work. Herrera went 0 for 4 with that strikeout, continuing to slump. His average has fallen to .217.

With Kendrick returning, Mackanin indicated he would give Herrera some days off soon to help him relax amid mounting pressure to hit.

"He's scuffling. A couple guys scuffling," Mackanin said. "I'll probably move him down in the lineup. I can't keep him in the two-hole. But he has to fight his way out. 

"We'll see when Kendrick gets here. We're going to have another outfielder. I'm going to mix and match and try to get everybody in there. Kendrick, I'm going to bring along slowly because I want to make sure he's healthy.

"In other words, I don't have a set outfield. I'm going to mix those guys up."

On the infield, Maikel Franco continued his slide Sunday, going 1 for 4 with a strikeout and a double play. The slugger is hitting .213 this month, just as he did in April, but his power is down with just two home runs. Kendrick, who only played left field in April, played third base while at Triple A, so he could potentially spell Franco as well.

"He hit a ball hard today but he's not giving us consistent at-bats," Mackanin said. "He's searching both physically and mentally. It's not easy for him. I can tell he's down on himself. He's not happy about what's going on."

The Phillies came into this week struggling and were unable to rebound against the Rockies and Reds, losing five of seven. They averaged just 2.42 runs during the homestand.

However, the bigger problem comes in the rotation. The team gave up 5.71 runs per game in their last seven despite a 23 2/3 inning scoreless streak from the bullpen. The rotation's struggles continue to plague the team as they carry the worst record in baseball into Miami for a three-game set starting Monday.

"I certainly expected more out of our starters," Mackanin said. "We've had some issues with [Aaron] Nola's arm and Clay Buchholz going down. Although [Jerad] Eickhoff is going to end up having a good year in my opinion. He's been a little bit hot and cold.

"And Eflin, I counted on him to have a big year this year. I think if he gets himself straightened out down in Triple A, I think he's going to come back strong. But certainly, I can't sit here and say I'm happy with [his performance]."

Instant Replay: Reds 8, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Reds 8, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

Zach Eflin allowed a career-high four home runs and the Phillies were outslugged by the Cincinnati Reds in an 8-4 defeat Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils have now lost nine consecutive series for the first time since 1997. The loss was their 22nd in 28 games. The Reds, who took two of three, picked up their first series win at CBP since August 2006.

Eflin was roughed up for the third consecutive start. The Reds tagged him for seven runs in just five innings. After three hits led to a run in the first inning, he gave up home runs in each of his last four frames. Following the game, Eflin was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Jeanmar Gomez allowed a solo home run in relief. 

Andrew Knapp gave the Phillies an early lead with a three-run homer during a four-run second inning. However, three double plays stifled the Phillies' offense, which was held scoreless after the second inning. 

Scott Feldman improved to 4-4 with the win for the Reds. The Phils dropped to 17-31 while the Reds improved to 24-25. 

Starting pitching report
Eflin stumbled through five innings, allowing nine hits. He had held opponents to just four homers in first six starts but has now has let up seven in his last two appearances. Over his past three starts, Eflin's been tagged for 22 runs in 15 innings. He's given up at least nine hits in all five May starts. 

A poor sign for Eflin: Only two of his outs came on the ground. The Reds were all over his fastball and scored in each of his five innings. His ERA has gone from 2.81 to 6.13 since May 17.

Feldman labored through a 32-pitch second inning in which he gave up four runs. He settled down afterward with a pair of double plays to get through five innings. The veteran righty struck out the last two batters he faced with a man on third and one out.

Bullpen report
Luis Garcia threw two shutout innings, striking out one. Jeanmar Gomez gave up rookie Patrick Kivlehan's second home run of the day in the ninth inning, snapping the Phillies' bullpen's scoreless streak at 23 2/3 innings. Gomez allowed three hits and the one run in two innings.

Blake Wood, Wandy Peralta, Drew Storen and Raisel Iglesias each threw shutout innings in relief of Feldman.

At the plate
Manager Pete Mackanin wanted the Phillies to string together 4-5 hits and they did so in the second inning. Tommy Joseph and Michael Saunders led off with back-to-back singles before Knapp drove them in with his 434-foot blast. Knapp laid off two high fastballs after falling behind 0-2 and drilled a curveball into the Phillies' bullpen.

Freddy Galvis followed with a double. Even Eflin aided the cause with his first career RBI on a run-scoring single. 

The top two in the order — Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera — went 0 for 8. Everyone else in the lineup had at least one hit. Saunders and Aaron Altherr each had two hits while Ty Kelly had a pinch-hit double.

Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Kivlehan combined for five home runs with Duvall and Kivlehan notching multi-hit games. Jose Peraza and Zack Cozart extended their hitting streaks to 13 and 11 games, respectively, in the first inning.

Up next
The Phillies head on the road and begin a three-game set with the Miami Marlins, whom they beat twice in April at Citizens Bank Park.

Monday, 7:10 p.m. — Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 4.28) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-7, 4.82)

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.— Vince Velasquez (2-4, 5.55) vs. Justin Nicolino (0-1, 5.40)

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. — Aaron Nola (2-2, 4.34) vs. Dan Straily (3.83)