Readers have pointed fingers at everyone from Sal Fasano to Gavin Floyd during the Phillies poor start. Very few have been pointed at today’s starting pitcher.
The Phillies have given Jon Lieber all the support he could ask for, a personal catcher, a three-year contract and the honor of starting opening day for two straight seasons. In return, they’ve asked very little in return. All they've asked is that he keep his weight in check.
Coming into today, Lieber drags an 0-4 record, 7.99 ERA and the slight hint of a spare tire into Citizen’s Bank Park. The team, and ticket office, has not recovered from his opening-day TKO.
Lieber, quite frankly, has been a disappointment, and now you begin to wonder if age has crept in. He's on the wrong side of 35 and has injury history. Whether it’s age or something else, he hasn’t been the consistent, stingy pitcher experts thought he would be for the Phils. Close, but not quite.
Hopefully, his slow start gets washed away this afternoon, and I'm optimistic it will. His ERA-FIP differential is an absurd -4.87, indicating he's been the victim of some poor luck and poor fielding. His big problem, however, is he does poorly trying to hold men in scoring position.
The team desperately needs to milk seven innings from Lieber before they head off on their 5-game road trip.
He’ll face Aaron Cook (1-2, 3.57 ERA), who flat dominated the Phils on April 11, only to be one-upped by Brett Myers in a 1-0 shutout. Cook is a groundball pitcher who baited Phils hitters into impatient at bats last time out.
Hamels spectacular in Triple-A debut
In progress: 7 IP, 14 K, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 ER.