Lieber so far has lived up to his billing as the ace of Philadelphia’s otherwise so-so staff.
“I’m just getting the ball every fifth game and trying to help us win a ballgame,” said Lieber, who has a 2.73 ERA.
Lieber, who signed a $21 million, three-year contract in December, gave up nine hits and struck out only one in eight innings to earn a 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. It was his second straight start where he didn’t walk anyone.
A 20-game winner with Chicago in 2001, Lieber has delivered for the Phillies in his return to the National League. He’s the first Philadelphia pitcher to win his first four starts of the year since Dennis Cook in 1990 and pitched at least eight innings in his last three starts.
“I’m going to have some rough games, I’m sure, this year,” Lieber said. “It’s only my fourth start and it’s a long season. I want to be able to be pitching like this in August and September, also.”
Lieber hopes to lead Philadelphia to its second straight win against the slumping Nationals.
Taking advantage of seven free passes offered by Washington pitchers, plus two errors, the Phillies built a four-run lead, then held on to beat the Nationals 5-4 Monday.
Philadelphia ended a three-game losing streak that put it in last in the NL East.
“It’s very important to get this win. It’s a competitive division,” said Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, who went 2-for-3 with a walk.
Washington has lost four of five and six of its last eight games to fall a game and a half behind Florida in the NL East.
The Nationals will send righty John Patterson to the mound to face off against Lieber. Patterson is 1-1 with a 0.86 ERA after three starts. He’s allowed only two earned runs in 21 innings after three starts and is in the midst of a 14-inning scoreless streak.