Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee is ready to get back on the hill following a two-month absence. Monday night’s start, though, could be his last in a Phillies uniform with the trade deadline fast approaching.
Lee tries to continue his mastery of the San Francisco Giants in the first of four at Citizens Bank Park.
Lee (4-4, 3.18 ERA) is eager to return after missing two months with a strained elbow. The left-hander, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 18, allowed eight runs – three earned – over 4 2-3 innings in his third and final rehab start last Monday.
"I’m ready to go. … I feel as good as I’ve felt the whole time," he told MLB’s official website. "I’m just ready to try to help the team win. That’s what I want to do."
Lee’s name has come up in trade rumors despite his recent injury. There’s a chance he could be moved to a contender before the July 31 deadline with Philadelphia (43-55) sitting at the bottom of the NL East.
"Right now I’m a Phillie, and I want to try to help this team win," Lee said. "I’m eager just to get back on the mound and try to help the team win. I’ve been out for two months now. I’m just ready to do my job."
Lee has certainly taken care of business versus San Francisco, going 5-0 over six regular-season starts with a 0.88 ERA – his lowest against any team. He posted a 6.94 ERA in losing two starts during the 2010 World Series with Texas.
The Giants counter with Ryan Vogelsong (5-7, 3.86), who has thrown the ball well of late but doesn’t have much to show for it. The right-hander has a 2.92 ERA during a four-start losing streak in which he’s received zero runs of support.
Vogelsong allowed both runs over 6 1-3 innings July 12 in a 2-0 loss to Arizona.
"It’s kind of crazy that it keeps happening to me," said Vogelsong, who hasn’t faced the Phillies since 2006. "You just keep fighting and come out the other side."
Philadelphia has dropped four of five following Sunday’s 8-2 defeat at Atlanta. Marlon Byrd went 2 for 4 with his 19th homer, giving him eight hits in his last 23 at-bats.
The Giants (54-44) are looking to bounce back after falling 3-2 at Miami on Sunday. Buster Posey drove in both runs for San Francisco, which had won its previous three games by a combined 22-8.
The Giants are expected to place first baseman Brandon Belt on the seven-day or 15-day disabled list because of a concussion. He was removed from Saturday’s game due to dizziness after getting hit in the face by a ball during batting practice.
"You have no choice in a concussion situation," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It’s a bad break for Brandon."
Belt is 6 for 36 with one homer and five RBIs in 11 games since returning from a broken thumb earlier this month.
Pablo Sandoval is batting .424 with two homers and seven RBIs over an eight-game stretch despite going 0 for 4 on Sunday. He’s 2 for 15 against Lee.
San Francisco has won six of eight in Philadelphia.