The Phillies lefty has waited two extra days for his latest chance, which finally will arrive in the second half of Sunday's split-admission doubleheader against the Rays at Citizens Bank Park. Lee's start was pushed back from Friday, when inclement weather forced a postponement and Sunday's twin bill, with games set for 1:05 and 6:35 p.m. ET.
Lee (0-3, 3.48 ERA) was not pleased that he threw 30-40 pitches in the bullpen before Friday's game was rained out. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said the team decided to have Lee start Sunday's second game to give him a little extra rest.
"You've got to make the adjustment," Lee said. "It is what it is. There's nothing I can do about it. I've got to get ready to pitch [on Sunday]."
Lee is winless in 11 starts, but his outing last Saturday at Toronto was only the second time he had allowed more than four earned runs. He gave up five on 12 hits in seven innings.
"He's gonna win some games," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's still that same pitcher he was last year [when he went 17-8]. Believe me. Sometimes that's the way baseball is. It's hard to figure out... I say it all the time there's more luck involved in the game than people ever see."
The Rays have not determined who will oppose Lee in the nightcap after David Price takes on Cole Hamels in the afternoon.
Price (9-4, 3.08) is making his second career start against the Phillies following two relief appearances in the 2008 World Series, when he was a rookie. The one previous start came in 2009, with Price surrendering 10 runs, five earned, in 4 1/3 innings.
The lefty has held the opposition to three earned runs or fewer in 12 of 14 starts this season. That includes his outing on Tuesday against the Nationals, when he gave up four runs, three earned, in seven innings.
"The long ball [in] the last game hurt me. I gave up two of them," said Price, who had kept the ball in the park in each of his previous four starts. "I don't particularly care about the solo home runs, but the ones with guys on base are the ones that hurt. So I feel like I need to do a better job with it."
Hamels (10-3, 3.25) is making his first appearance against the Rays since the 2008 World Series, when he was 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts to help the Phillies claim the championship. His only regular season start against Tampa Bay came in his rookie year of 2006.
Rays: Mulling options for nightcap
The Rays responded to Friday's rainout by pushing James Shields' start to Saturday. They could slide Saturday's scheduled starter, Alex Cobb, back to the second half of Sunday's doubleheader.
It is also possible that Cobb will be named Monday's pitcher. In that case, manager Joe Maddon said the club could bring up a starter from Triple-A Durham or bring up a reliever to help the bullpen cover the innings.
Either way, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the team "most likely" will call up a pitcher for the day, taking advance of a new rule in place this season. Thanks to the latest collective bargaining agreement, teams can have 26 players active for day-night doubleheaders, although that number is 25 for the Rays, who have reliever Joel Peralta serving a suspension.
Going into Sunday's date with a pair of accomplished southpaws, the Rays are 9-14 against left-handed starters this season, compared with 29-18 against righties. Their OPS is about 35 points lower against lefties.
Phillies: Return to form for Hamels
In his previous four starts before Tuesday's outing against the Rockies, Hamels recorded a 26-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio but also surrendered six home runs, contributing to a 6.08 ERA in that span. He allowed at least four runs in each start.
Hamels believed those struggles were more mental than physical, and he seemed to rectify that against the Rockies, holding them to two runs in eight innings. At one point, he retired 13 straight batters.
"There's a time and a place for everything," Hamels said afterward. "You get another pitch. I think that's the ultimate thing. I get another chance. I throw a ton of pitches in a game, but ultimately, the most important one is the next one. I think I wasn't focusing on that."
Center fielder Shane Victorino didn't start on Saturday, his second missed start this season, but entered as a defensive replacement and still has appeared in all 72 games. He figures to be back in the lineup on Sunday, considering his 1.040 OPS against left-handed pitchers.
Lee is 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA in his career against the Rays but has not faced them since 2010.
Carlos Pena has logged a team-high 42 at-bats against Lee, with 13 strikeouts, a .190 average and three home runs. Against Hamels, Jeff Keppinger has gone 6-for-12 (.500) with three RBIs.
The Phillies had lost seven consecutive day games, including three at home, before Saturday's win. They are 8-15 for the season.