Manuel bucks a two-years-running tradition and causes mild agida throughout the City of Brotherly Love by going with playoff rookie Lee instead of postseason veteran Cole Hamels to set the tone for the series.
Lee dazzles, throwing shutout ball for 8 2/3 innings before allowing one run in a complete game. He also singles in his first at-bat, steals second base for the first stolen base by a pitcher in Phillies postseason history, and executes a perfect sacrifice bunt in the breakout sixth. Not bad for a guy with only a third of a season in the NL.
This is why Manuel works so well for this Phillies team. He is willing to choose his head over his heart, and for the most part, Lee was better throughout the season than Hamels. Hamels still gets the ball in Game 2, and the Phillies have a 1-0 lead, so everyone wins.
"I tried to treat it as much like a regular game as I could. Obviously there's more excitement and energy with the playoff game, but it's still 60 feet, 6 inches to home plate, still the same strike zone. ... I knew there was going to be a little bit more adrenaline, but for the most part I tried to treat it like a normal start." -- Lee
Hot-water Jimenez hits
Jimenez, seemingly tiring in the stretch, gives up two runs in a 35-pitch fifth inning and is slated to lead off the batting order in the top of the sixth.
Tracy leaves Jimenez in the game, allowing him to hit.
Jimenez strikes out to lead off the sixth, setting up a 1-2-3 inning for Lee, then gives up a leadoff single to Chase Utley, a stolen base, an RBI double to Ryan Howard and an RBI triple to Jayson Werth before being pulled in favor of lefty Joe Beimel, who immediately allows a Raul Ibanez RBI single, and the Rockies fall behind, 5-0.
Jimenez, behind in every count and climbing up in the zone, probably should have been lifted after he gave up a sharp two-out single to Jimmy Rollins in the fifth, but he was bailed out by Shane Victorino's soft flyout that ended the inning. It might have made more sense to lead off the inning with a right-handed pinch-hitter such as Ryan Spilborghs.
"He was really, really on his game into the fifth inning. He had all his stuff. His pitch count was probably ... in better shape than it's been in any game he's pitched over the last month. A 2-0 game, a single and a ball hit out of the ballpark and you're back tied. I don't think that's a very good message to send to a guy that after they scratch two runs off of him that you remove him from the game." -- Tracy
The Phillies go into the ninth inning with a 5-0 lead.
Manuel lets Lee, at 96 pitches entering the inning, go for the shutout.
Lee loses the shutout, giving up a single to Carlos Gonzalez, throwing a wild pitch that allowed Gonzalez to take second and allowing a Troy Tulowitzki double to drive in the Rockies' only run, but he nails down a complete-game victory on a relatively tame 113 pitches.
Manuel could have let Brad Lidge pitch the inning to try to give the embattled now-part-time closer a confidence boost, but not using the bullpen at all was a more attractive option, especially the way Lee was cruising with a relatively low pitch count.
"I just had [reliever Ryan] Madson and [starter J.A.] Happ throwing there [in the ninth]. Of course, they were just getting loose. But I wasn't planning on using them, because I didn't think I was going to need them anyway. And Cliff kind of proved us right." -- Manuel