Cliff Lee: He's Not Too Shabby

lee 0819.jpgI’m just going to throw this out there because we’re all friends … Cliff Lee has been pretty good so far for the Phillies.

Let’s take a look at some numbers:

  • He is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA in four starts.
  • He has allowed just 18 hits and six walks in 33 innings. He has struck out 34.
  • Opponents have hit .161 against him.
  • He has allowed 6.82 baserunners per game.
  • He has carried two no-hitters into the sixth inning.
  • He has two complete games.
  • He leads the Majors or shares the lead in wins, ERA, complete games, innings and strikeouts since he made his Phillies debut on July 31 in San Francisco. He is third in opponents average.
  • He is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with two doubles. That’s two more hits than he has allowed earned runs.
  • He threw 106 pitches in tonight’s 8-1 complete game victory over the Diamondbacks. Eighty-one were strikes.
  • He allowed just two hits and one unearned run against Arizona. He tied a career high 11 strikeouts.
  • He is 7-0 with a 1.09 ERA in seven starts since July 16, which include his final three starts with Cleveland.
  • He leads the Majors in wins, ERA, complete games (4) and innings (58) in that span. He is tied for fourth in opponents average (.193) and fifth in strikeouts (48).
  • He has five complete games this season, the first three coming with Cleveland. He is tied with Zach Greinke and Roy Halladay for the Major League lead.

“I don’t know how special it is,” Lee said afterward. “It’s me doing what I expect to do every time I go on the mound. Every inning I expect to go out there and put up a zero. Get that inning behind me, go out to the next inning and I expect to put up a zero. I’ve done that more times than not. Yeah, I’m pleased with it. I’m not too caught up in it. I’m not going to sit here and pat myself on the back. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

“He’s a for real ace,” Jayson Werth said. “He’s that type of guy. He’s a shutdown guy. He can go out and control a game. Look what he’s done since he’s been here. That’s pretty remarkable. But that’s the kind of stuff he brings to table. You can’t expect a guy to do that every time out, but so far the stuff he’s offering is definitely different than what guys are used to seeing. At least it looks that way to me. You get a run on the board for a guy like that you’re in pretty good shape.”

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Ryan Howard is hitting .351 (13-for-37) with two doubles, one triple, five homers and 15 RBIs in his last 10 games. Werth is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with one double, four home runs and five RBIs in his last five games.

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The Phillies are a season-high 19 games over .500 (68-49).

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45 Comments

Ya think?

CG – 9 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 11 SO, 106 Pitches, 81 strikes and 25 balls is the final line on Cliff tonight. What is there to say but damn.

Thank God for PhilLee.

I can’t express in words how beautiful it is to have a pitcher that actually FINISHES games. Feh to the bullpen and their tired arms. Feh to middle-inning guys and their work ethic. Feh to set-up men and their supposed importance. Give me 4 or 5 guys who know how to pitch, throw strikes, work quickly and (God forbid) pitch 9 innings.
Isn’t that what ERA is supposed to mean? Earned runs per 9 innings.
My heart is warmed by Cliff Lee.

I love Todd’s post. I love Cliff Lee. I love Ruben Amaro. I’m full of love. (And beer.)

I know we’ve said this before, but…….Halladay, who?

Here’s to hoping Hamels starts taking lessons from Lee rather than Moyer. He should take lessons from Happ for that matter. Is it just me or is the composure of Hamels, drafted out of high school, markedly different from both Happ and Blanton both of whom were drafted from college? Happ is a rookie but he is a year older than Hamels.

WHat can you say about CLiff Lee? How about we start calling him Lefty–the ultimate compliment in Phila?? AS for Hamels, do you all realize he is the youngest player on the team? That’s right, he’s younger then Happ, and everyone else by nearly a year!! Let’s not get carried away and expect him to act like a 10 year vet with all the pressure we’ve put on him, and he’s put on himself

f-in-j ………….Whose putting pressure on Hamels? We are talking baseball here not brain surgery or rocket science. The point was the maturity level of players drafted out of high school versus those drafted out of college. And if you bothered to read, you would find that I mentioned Happ is older than Hamels even though Happ is the rookie and Hamels is the “vet”. So rather than going off on an accusatory tangent, give your opinion as to whether or not a player drafted out of college generally shows more composure than a player drafted out of high school, as least in the earlier years and might in fact lag behind in this area. Happ and Hamels are the example and Blanton to a lesser degree. By the way, do you know Hamels and Blanton were both drafted in 1st round in the same year with Hamels being the higher pick?

What a treat it is to watch Lee pitch. He has been beyond expectations. Interestingly, Halladay has been medicore since the trade deadline passed. Between getting Ibanez and now Lee and Francisco, if there was a reward he’d get “Rookie of the Year” GM!

I saw Happ intereviewed yesterday on DNL, he’s continues to impress me with his professionalism, knowledge of the game and his warm personality. Here’s a kid who’s been through the so much this season—bullpen vs. rotation, trade rumors all the while consistently pitching like a number 2/3 starter (I know he’s only seen most teams once) Whether this has to do with being drafted from college as opposed to high school, I think its up to the individual personality. Each gives the player a different type of experience.

Great night to be at the park last night. I’ve seen a collection of terrible games on my season ticket plan but all those lumps I have taken were worth it last night. Seriously what can you say about Lee? I turned to my buddy at one point when looking at his pitch count in the 7th and saw he had thrown 22 balls. I said “Dude he’s not even throwing much more than 3 balls an inning! That’s not even really a ball to each hitter he is facing.” The command he has for all four of his pitches is otherworldly. He dazzled last night and the fans were feeling it. It’s such a joy to watch someone like Lee work.

Another highlight last night was Werth’s performance as he continues to build on his incredible year. He also told this meathead in my section who was yelling at him for no reason whatsoever to shut up. It was great and the whole section approved.

Since I was at the game and didn’t really happen to notice the ruling on the Feliz error til a couple hitters later I have a question. Was that ruled an error right away or was it switched between the half inning?

The ballpark was absolutely electric last night. Whenever Lee came to bat, got a hit, when the no-hitter ended, the crowd was on their feet.

I was a little nervous about leaving him in for the 9th, due to the 150% humidity. But Cholly proved me wrong once again. Lee is a stud, we’re blessed to have him. Thank-you Rube!

Also, I’m glad Lidge didn’t blow a save last night on his own bobblehead giveaway. I like it better with the head attached to the body.

pherrisphain: I wasn’t responding to you specifically but to the large numbr of posts badmouthing Hamels over the past few weeks. I agree he’s having an off year, whether due to the number of innings pitched last year, the party circit he was on during the off season or some other reason, but he is still the pitcher with the highest up side on the roster (including Lee) and as the youngest, has many years to show us his stuff.

As for college vs Highschool draftees, you have a point, but the minors mainly removes this difference from the equation. Unlike other sports, in baseball you play in the minors for a few years and then make the show. These years are the ones where you grow, both in ability and maturity. The high-school/college issue may be why Blanton made the big leagues before Hamels, even though he was fast tracked. An example would be how long the Phillies kept Carlos Carrasco in the minors, allowing him to mature as a person before bringing him up (that’s now the Tribes problem). This in direct opposition to a player like Drew Carpenter, signed out of College, who has been called up to make spot starts.

And yes, i was aware that Blanton and Hamels are products of the same first round draft. Are you aware that the Phillies prefer to draft highschool pitchers over college ones?

karen, I saw that same interview with Happ on DNL yesterday and I was impressed with his confidence. He didn’t want to hear anything about ‘the second time around’ the league and if he would have problems when facing a team for the second time. I like the confidence but I hope he understands that it CAN be an adjustment period. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff so he’ll need to locate his pitches better as he goes forward.

It is one thing to talk about how teams adjust to Happ once he is seen around the league. But what about within the game itself whether in connection with a particular player or the entire team? Happ just walks that fast ball up and he consistently gets batters to swing. I believe no matter what the book is, many, many players just can not help themselves and never will be able to considering the split second judgment required. And just as opposition players learn Happ, he learns the opposition player. Evidently, Happ is a quick study. Probably has something to do with his Northwestern University education.

     I still don’t get the whole Hamels “composure” thing. Yes he’s our youngest pitcher, but you’re talking about a guy who had a spectacular year last year and was dominant in the postseason. Clearly pressure doesn’t get to him (as, I would argue, it doesn’t with most players, having been competitors for most of their lives).
     Hamels’ biggest problem, when he’s not just getting unlucky (as he has quite a bit this season) is location. He’s not throwing as high a proportion of strikes as he did last year, and he’s missing his spots a lot. That’s what’s getting him in trouble, and that’s something that tends to balance out for an elite pitcher like Cole.

When you say “balance out” do you mean as in a 7-7 record?

Last night, Halladay got lit up by the Bosox. That made me think what if…….. Fortunately, we don’t have to think about how disappointing it was to trade our best prospects and Happ for a good, but not great, pitcher. Ruben Amaro got wind of Lee’s availability and made the deal in a day. The man is blessed to be able to make the right decision almost every time. You can’t call it luck anymore. You can’t say Gillick is pulling the strings behind the scenes. This man has made very few mistakes, and those have been inconsequencial.

Happ is a quick study, but batters (good ones anyway) will eventually learn to lay off the fastball as it climbs up. After his inteview, Botallico spoke exactly about that and they showed a number of his at-bats where the ball kept climbing as the count got deeper. His point was that Happ never pitches down in the zone and he will eventually have to do that to get quick strikes early in the count. Then he can climb the ladder, as long as he is ahead. He walked 6 guys as it is the other day, so it can be assumed that they are already picking up on it.

erich, I believe that Halladay would be pitching much better if he had been traded. I think he really was hoping to be a Phillie. He went through a lot for about a month and I think that he is probably very disappointed to not be in a pennant race. He’s every bit the stud that Lee appears to be and he’ll come around as soon as he gets his head back on straight. Toronto blew it by asking too much for Halladay. The package Amaro offered was pretty solid.
I don’t think we would have gone wrong to get Halladay, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth and I couldn’t be more pleased with Lee. He is a true ‘Ace’.

Yeah there is no point in saying “what if” about a possible Halladay deal. And to just call Halladay a good pitcher is an understatement. He is still a stud and slightly above Lee. Lee has been incredible but I don’t see why Halladay couldn’t come in here and not be about the same as Lee has been. But the cost they got Lee for was just way too good. Amaro, Jr. really played his cards right. He really has hit the ground running. I was not one of his bigger advocates when he was named the successor to Gillick. I was in Arbuckle’s corner but Ruben is showing me he has the set to do the job.

pherris, no, I don’t mean a 7-7 record, because win-loss records for pitchers are a bunch of steaming garbage. I mean his location will improve back to his usual levels and he’ll be pitching to his talent level once again. He’s already improving, note his last start.

Have we seen four straight dominating pitching performances like this since Lefty? Is Lee the real thing or will they start figuring him out next time through the league? Right now he is a joy to watch.

Cole has to sit there and watch a gem like last night and think that he is well beyond capable of going out there and doing the same thing. He did it in October. Calling October Cole, calling October Cole!

Phan, I don’t know what you have against Happ, but why don’t you wait until the other teams figure him out, and see his adjustmants before you judge him? So long as he can throw that rising FB for strikes and it works he’s continuing to do so, When it no longer works, we’ll see if he has it in him to adjust. Until then, enjoy his games and having a rookie who consitently goes into the 7th and holds the other guys to under 3 runs a night

I am not saying that Hamels is not a good pitcher. I am saying that he is a lot more pedestrian than the posters here want to admit. Happ, a rookie, is posting numbers that are blowing away anything Hamels did as as a rookie. Funny how after the league caught on to Hamels he posted better numbers his second year. But, no, after the league catches on to Happ his numbers are going to tank. Give me a break. At this time all indications are that Happ is #2. We will have to wait for the remainder of the season to see how this plays out.

Hamels, has not been pitching AS poorly as his record indicates. Yes, he has had a clunker or two and yes, he gives up too many hrs. But he has given up too many hrs, in the past too. He’ll be fine starting very soon. They score too FEW runs for him. As for Happ, the guy has improved each year in the BIGS from that 1st start back in 2007 vs the Mets. The guy accepts, meets and overcomes every obstacle he has faced between 2008 and now. That “wait until the league adjusts” to him BS is just that , BS. If a ML pitcher throws HIS pitch in HIS location to any hitter NOT named albert Puljols , he can probably tell the guy ahead of time 9 times out of 10. And if it’s a strike, the hitter won’t do MUCH with it. Instead of worrying about whether Happ will fail, how about appreciating the guy’s successes in the face of the adversities that he has already faced ?

We finally agree on something Pherrisphain. In fact, if Happ was on almost any other team he’d be the Ace. Only Lee, and Hamel’s October lst year are preventing him from that title in Phila

joed21…….We saw our share of terrible games early in the season. But the good ones have far outweighted the bad ones. Including one of Howard’s grand slams, Happ’s complete game, and Chase’s inside-the-park home run. Get season ticket plan A next year! LOL!

If you look at a majority of the more recent #1 pitchers, say last 10 or so years, as with current ones i.e. Lee, Halladay, CC, etc they all have had an average year or two following their break out year, then bounce back to be the Ace they were destined to be, I think this will happen to Hamels, and if Happ’s numbers drop off next year, I wouldn’t give up on him either, I think Happ has some qualities which will make him a top line pitcher for a number of years.

That a person of Blanton’s girth pitches as well as he does in hot weather makes no sense to me at all. Maybe the slippery sweat puts extra bite on his pitches. Whatever it is I hope his pitching doesn’t cool off when the weather does.

It’s interesting that everyone has stopped posting about getting rid of Bruntlett….. I hope I didn’t get that started again. The waiver deadline is coming up.

Boy oh boy, was Cliff Lee ever dominant, from the first pitch to the last, everything was right with the world, or Cliff Lee’s arm

http://thepitchersduel.mlblogs.com/

erichh1……I can understand what you are saying about Blanton’s girth. But do you realize he is 6’3″? HIs listed weight is 225 lbs. Not much different than Ryan Howard. He just might carry it differently.

Are you serious?! Blanton weighs only 225?! He has to weigh more than that. Then again, MLB is not the NFL, which regularly exaggerates players’ weight and height in an effort to make their bodies more athletic (on paper) for the positions they play. So who knows? Still, how many 6′ 3″ 225 lb. guys with no neck are there in the world?

These are Blanton’s listed dimensions. I do not know what to say.

Read someones comments on a Giants blog sometime earlier this year, who said they saw Blanton warming up, called him the HULK in a Phillies uniform, said they have never seen a pitcher throw a ball as far as him in long toss to warm up, they said they were sure he could throw a fast ball from center field and hit the strike zone… okay it’s funny how an opposing fan saw Blanton, I think his weight is an older stat, he doesn’t carry much fat mostly muscle… yeah I know a lot of people say that, but the dude is like a brick S*** house…

New source: Blanton – 250 lbs.

erichh1 – Bruntlett…LOL

erichh1- again LOL… been there, done that, had the same feeling… sometimes wish I could just get back from Ohio to Philly… I have to settle for MLB online, except for the occassional 6 hour drive to see a game… and of course the over priced NFL package from Direct TV to see the Eagles…

Thankfully, tonight’s game will be televised on MLBNetwork. The “second” worst thing about living in LA is not being able to see the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers or Flyers on TV all the time. Oh, in case you’re wondering, the WORST thing is the people!

weird…okay these posts time travel…either that or outbrain operates off your internal terminals clock for the posts, so now its 5:44 on my pc

so its 5:46 and i reset the clock to 5:43 lets see

well that didn’t work maybe I have clean out all pref and cookies etc for outbrain…try that tomorrow… out of time today

f-i-j, why don’t you pay attention? I have nothing against Happ, I am simply pointing out observations about his pitching style. First of all, he does no throw that rising fastball for strikes, which is precisely my point. Batters will learn to stay off of it and force him to bring the ball down, in which case he will have to rely on more than a fastball.
And your assertion that he is ‘ace’ material after 21 starts in MLB is laughable. He’s a smart kid who is setting batters up with a deceptive delivery and getting ahead in the count. But he doesn’t have a single overpowering pitch or mastery of a number of pitches in order to be considered an ‘ace’ after 21 starts in the league. He will need to adjust and then we’ll see what he has.

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