PHILADELPHIA - That headline sounds like a movie title. Maybe something set in the old west.
Don’t anyone steal that idea. I might have a stop in Hollywood in my future.
Not only have Ross Detwiler and Cliff Lee each thrown three scoreless innings and allowed just two hits between them so far tonight, but they’ve been incredibly efficient in the process.
Detwiler has needed just 32 pitches to get through his three frames, 22 of which have been strikes.
Lee, meanwhile, has thrown 37 pitches so far, only six of which have been out of the strike zone.
The Nationals and Phillies are scoreless as we go to the fourth, and while both offenses have struggled mightily this season, you can’t blame the bats tonight. The two left-handers on the hill have just been dealing so far.
Lee has three strikeouts, two of which have been looking. He’s spotting his cutter nicely and while he’s now 34 years old, Lee can still bring his four-seamer at a solid 92-93 mph. He’s kept the Nats off-balance, with a Ryan Zimmerman single through the hole the only blemish on his line so far.
His counterpart has also looked plenty good. Detwiler has, as always, been relying mainly on his two- and four-seam fastballs, but has worked down in the zone and allowed just a Carlos Ruiz bloop single, a ball that probably could’ve been caught by Jayson Werth had he gotten a better break.
This could be quite a pitchers’ duel here tonight.
Update: After Lee struck out the first two batters he saw in the fourth, Werth ambushed the left-hander, crushing a first-pitch fastball out to left for his seventh homer of the season.
The ball took off like it had a jet engine attached to it. Werth was looking fastball, didn’t miss it, and it left the park in a hurry.
Against a guy like Lee, who pounds the zone and thrives when he’s working ahead in the count, the Nats might be wise to follow Werth’s strategy and attack Lee early in counts.
They now have a 1-0 lead in the middle of the fourth.
Update II: And now we’re tied again.
The Phillies picked up just one hit in the fourth, but some situational hitting has knotted the score. Michael Young led off with a double off Detwiler and then moved to third on Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice bunt. There aren’t many times you see a No. 3 hitter lay down a bunt to try and move a runner over with no outs.
Ryan Howard then brought Young in with a sac fly to right.
It’s 1-1 after four. Detwiler and Lee are all-square again.