Thursday, August 20, 2009

This is a consolation prize?

Approaching the trade deadline on July 31, the Phillies faithful became rabid adherents to the idea that Roy Halladay was the sole savior for this year's edition of the Fightin's. Only Halladay could assure us another trip down Broad Street, and any other addition to the rotation would be a flop, guaranteeing another frustrating season that came up just short.

Ruben Amaro, Jr., the Phils' GM, didn't bring Halladay to lower Broad. Instead, he picked up Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco from the Cleveland Indians in a deal that was widely (though not universally) regarded as a nice consolation.

Four starts into his Phillies' career, Lee has changed the narrative dramatically. Two complete games combined with an 8-inning and a 7-inning outing tend to improve people's opinion of a starting pitcher. When you also surrender only three earned runs during those 33 innings of work, you'll very quickly become a fan favorite.

So, when former consolation prize, and current savior of the franchise, Cliff Lee came to bat in the bottom of the 8th inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park last night, the faithful responded appropriately, rising as one to show their support and appreciation for the team's ace.

And just to put the cherry on this particularly delightful sundae, Lee added a second hit to his impressive output from the plate with a little dribbler down the third base line.

Yeah, this is far from consolation.

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