Cliff Lee pitched the first two innings of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ second preseason game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Lee picked up where he left off last season and looked solid in his first appearance of the spring. Despite giving up a run, Lee was still sharp.
During Lee’s two innings of work, he faced eight batters and gave up two hits. Blue Jays right fielder Moises Sierra ripped a double over Phillies center fielder Ben Revere‘s head. Jose Bautista followed Sierra with a rope just past a diving Cody Asche for an RBI double.
Lee took care of the other six batters he faced with ease, including a one, two, three second inning. He stuck out Edwin Encarnacion swinging and caught Melky Cabrera and ex-Phillie Erik Kratz looking. Lee also retired the always dangerous Jose Reyes to open the game.
Although it was just his first appearance and only two innings of work, it was a positive sign for the veteran moving forward. He attacked the strike zone and threw first pitch strikes to all but one batter. Despite solid contact by back-to-back batters, the rest had trouble. His curveball looked good and he struck out three. It is early for both batters and pitchers, but the fact that he did not walk anyone and pounded the strike zone is a good sign for the Phillies.
If Lee can continue to have success in the spring he could be in for a huge regular season. The Phillies will need great pitching from Lee and the rest of their staff. Last season, all 10 playoff teams ranked among the top 11 teams in ERA of starting pitchers, and Lee looks ready to play his part.