Cliff Lee and Company Take On Pirates In Phillies’ Second Game

Cliftonphifer Philliedelphia/Steve Trapani

The Phillies started off the season on the right foot with their 1-0 win Thursday, but there are still 161 games left to play. Roy Halladay was outstanding as usual in his Opening Day start. He toyed with the Pirates batters the whole day, allowing just two hits (both in the first inning) and striking out five over eight shut out innings. Tonight, Cliff Lee (2011: 17-8, 2.40 ERA) will take on the Pirates in the second game of the 2012 season. Following up Doc is not the easiest thing to do, but if anyone can try, it's Cliff Lee.

Lee had a good Spring Training as he went 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA in six starts. The Phifer will be starting his second full season as a Phillie this year and after finishing third in the NL Cy Young voting, Lee is hoping to come up with another great season to help propell the Phillies into the postseason for the sixth straight year. In two career starts against the Pirates, Lee holds a 1-0 record with a 3.68 ERA.

Lee will be tasked with facing Pirates' righty Jeff Karstens (2011: 9-9, 3.46 ERA). Karstens had a productive year in terms of ERA last season and secured his spot in the Pirates' rotation with his strong second half. Karstens had a remarkable Spring, just allowing four earned runs over 17 innings pitched to give himself a 0-1 record and a 2.12 ERA. In his career, Karstens is 0-0 with a 3.46 ERA against the Phillies.

The Phillies had trouble putting out runs on Thursday and they were lucky enough to put out the decisive run in the seventh. The lack of offense is going to be a huge factor this year and the starting pitchers won't be able to carry the team over 161 games. Although the Phillies out-hit the Pirates 8-2 Thursday, they left a total of 13 men-on-base. Either Ruben Amaro is going to have to find a power hitter, or the Phillies will need to incorporate small ball into their systems.

Charlie Manuel will send out this lineup against the Pirates tonight.

First Pitch @ 7:05 PM ET.

Tonight's Lineup @ Pirates:

  1.  Victorino CF
  2.  Polly 3B
  3.  J-Roll SS
  4.  Hunter Pence RF
  5.  Laynce Nix 1B
  6.  John Mayberry Jr. LF
  7.  Chooch C
  8.  Freddy Galvis 2B
  9. Cliff Lee P.

You can watch tonight's game on CSN.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.