Cliff Lee Is Not Feeling the Love from Philadelphia Phillies Bats

Jenn ZambriCorrespondent IMay 7, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14:  Starting pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers to a Washington Nationals batter at Nationals Park on April 14, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

While Phillies fans have certainly shown their support of Cliff Lee since his return, his teammates are a bit lacking in that department.

In Lee's last three starts, the Phils have scored a grand total of one run for him.

Friday night, the huge "zero" on the board amounted to a very odd outcome. Lee struck out a career-high 16 batters in the 5-0 loss to the Braves. This tied Steve Carlton for the most strikeouts over nine innings by a lefty in Phillies history.

The third inning was not great for Lee, as he allowed three runs. But aside from that inning, Lee was lights out, keeping pace with Derek Lowe who had a no-hitter going into the seventh.

But if you allow just three runs over seven innings, you are supposed to get a win, right? Sadly, that did not happen.

The most frustrating offense came in the seventh after Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter with a single to left. Placido Polanco knocked a ground rule double, which as the ball hopped over the fence in center, actually prevented Victorino from scoring.

With two men in scoring position and no outs, the Phillies bats failed again. Lowe left the game with an injury and Eric O'Flaherty replaced him. 

Facing O'Flaherty should have been a relief after Lowe had mowed the Phils down in six straight innings. Instead, the next three batters—Ryan Howard, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez—all struck out swinging.

Not one of them could even make contact.

And that continues to be the Achilles heel of this team. These severe hot and cold streaks at the plate are going to catch up to the Phillies eventually. The team's 21 wins behind a stellar pitching staff is covering the multitude of offensive sins right now, but that cannot last for long.

The Phillies bats will need to get serious very, very soon.