Cliff Lee has been one of baseball’s top pitchers since winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2008, and he’s continued to prove that this season for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Arizona Diamondbacks simply are hoping Bronson Arroyo can put together a solid outing.
The hurlers oppose each other as Arizona seeks a fourth straight victory Saturday night at Chase Field.
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Lee (3-2, 3.09 ERA) has finished with an ERA of no worse than 3.22 in six straight seasons, and he’s lived up to the five-year, $120 million contract he signed with the Phillies (11-12) prior to 2011.
The left-hander has posted a 1.20 ERA over four starts since being roughed up for eight runs against Texas in the season opener March 31. He’s struck out 38 while walking two over 35 innings on the season.
Lee threw a complete game while allowing one run and striking out 13 in a 1-0 loss to Atlanta on April 16. He had another stellar outing Monday, giving up four hits and striking out 10 in eight innings of a 7-0 win over the Dodgers.
”That’s definitely something I take pride in,” Lee said of his strikeout-to-walk ratio. ”I really focus a lot on working ahead in the count and trying to make them earn their way on base. I’ve made a conscious effort over the past few years to make that one of my priorities and it’s going to continue to be that way.”
Lee has struck out 42 and walked eight while going 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA in six starts against the Diamondbacks, tossing seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 win the last time he faced them May 11.
Things haven’t gone nearly as well for Arroyo (1-2, 9.50) this season, and he’s one of the main reasons why the Diamondbacks (8-18) rank last in the majors with a 5.30 ERA.
The right-hander has pitched 18 innings over four starts with opponents hitting .372 against him. He allowed five runs and eight hits while walking three in 5 1-3 innings of Monday’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
”When the results are the way they have been, regardless of how you feel physically, it makes you not feel like you’ve been amazing out there,” Arroyo said. ”It doesn’t really matter how strong you feel or really how great your stuff is when results don’t turn around. It’s just been a downhill slide for me. It just feels like you’re trapped in quicksand and haven’t been able to get out of it.”
Arroyo has been much better against Philadelphia lately, winning his last three starts with a 1.52 ERA.
Ryan Howard is 4 for 20 with eight strikeouts against Arroyo, who will look to help the Diamondbacks continue their season-best winning streak after they won Friday’s series opener 5-4.
Aaron Hill hit a two-run homer and an RBI double, and A.J. Pollack hit a solo shot.
"Now I think a little bit of the pressure’s off,” Hill said. ”We know that we’re a good team and we can play well and win games like this.”
Arizona, though, learned that Mark Trumbo will miss at least six weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot. Trumbo leads the team with seven homers and 19 RBIs.
"The best case is that it goes by quickly and we win a lot of games," Trumbo told the team’s official website. "The best medicine for anything is that the team’s doing well."