A Rocky Start for Lee

“They’re the team to beat. Just ask J-Roll.”- Jayson Werth

So I guess take some comfort in that following Cliff Lee‘s early exit last night at Nationals Park?

Lee started the night 3-3 with a 2.80 ERA in his previous nine starts. (Some of the worst run support in baseball hasn’t helped his record.) But figure in his April 8 start in Atlanta, where he allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings, and last night’s s start in Washington, where he allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings, and Lee is 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA in 12 starts.

Lee, who walked just 18 batters in 212 1/3 innings last season with Seattle and Texas, has walked 19 in 80 innings this season.

“Cliff Lee, when he’s going good he absolutely controls the game,” Manuel said. “He’ll get going. He’s in a little funk or whatever. He’ll be all right.”

Two months don’t make a season. Just remember less than a month ago everybody wanted to permanently remove Raul Ibanez from the lineup. He has hit .330 with eight doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 27 games since snapping his 0-for-35 slump. Clearly this is not the start Lee envisioned, but it also isn’t any reason to be concerned. He’s essentially had two awful starts, a 2.90 ERA in his other 10 starts and no run support for much of the season. He’s fine.

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20 Comments

Lee’s FIP is 2.78 and his xFIP is 2.63. With over 10 k/9, I’m not worried about Lee at all.

90 K’s in 80 innings…nothing to see but future dominance here.

And how many walks? More already than last year. Strikeouts are overrated. Just get outs.

Glad to see positive thoughts are posted here about Lee. He’ll be fine :)

It makes me feel me better knowing Lee’s FIP is 2.78 and his xFIP is 2.63. But it still begs the question, WTF are you talking about? Lee got pasted yesterday and he has not risen to the occasion in his last several starts. But, you know what? I am not going to believe my lying eyes.

Lee will be just fine. The Phillies ARE the team to beat.

Fielding Independent Pitching – evaluation of pitchers by eliminating things out of his control. (IE wind blown HRs)

Just another way to look at how he’s pitching based on his peripheral statistics

Things like FIP are nonsense stats. Anybody watching that game knows that Lee didn’t have it yesterday. It’s like people who use BABIP as a statistic. Everybody gives up hits, but the quality of the hits, and the number of them with RISP is a truer test. Lee gave up some shots at bad times yesterday.
I’m not knocking him; I think he’ll be fine. But it is what it is. No excuses for games like yesterday.

Wind blown homeruns? Give us a break, please. How about this GNSPLNG homerun?

Actually, no. FIP measures a pitcher on things he has the most control over: walks, strikeouts, and homeruns. And it’s a good statistic for showing whether a pitcher’s ERA represents their ability or luck (good or bad).

There is no such thing as luck.

I’m wondering if, now that he finally has a long-term contract, Lee is not feeling the pressure to perform that he had in prior years (when he never knew when he’d be traded or where he’d end up.) He may have performed better under that pressure that is no longer there. BUT, that being said, I think he’ll eventually settle in and pitch well. Especially if we start providing more run support.

Oops – not “we start providing more run support” but if the team starts providing more run support.

The reason for mentioning his FIP and xFIP is because they are much better predictors for future performance than ERA and W/L. Because Lee’s numbers in those categories are low, I’m not worried about his future performance.

Why does Charlie leave Cliff Lee in there to get knocked around for 6 innings, yet he pulls Oswalt after 5 and 79 pitches while he is pitching much better? I highly doubt Charlie would have pulled Lee, Halladay or Hamels under similar circumstances.
Then he doesn’t pull a double switch with Brown and Francisco and leaves that stiff in the game. Charlie’s starting to get on my nerves.

who exactly is the “stiff” to whom you refer?

Todd, you need to ask Charlie about his disrespect for Oswalt. You know as well as I he would never have pulled those other guys in that situation.

I’m not worried about Cliff Lee he’s not perfect he got hit around last night and has had a few games that Cliff would’nt brag about but how many no decisions have the starters had to go along with the lack of runs and hits…as for being the team to beat Jayson you were on that team so get used to looking up at the team you once played on.

He’ll be fine. Except for his monster years of 2005 and 2008, he is a streaky pitcher. Win 3, loose 2, win 4, etc. Too many folks are focusing on his 2008 stats and what he did during his brief first go around here. Need to step back and look at his overall body of work. Plus, a bit more run support and his record most likely would be different.

First of all, Cliff Lee’s track record makes me believe he will be dominating hitters soon. Also, we have to remember that althought the Phils didn’t make it to the WS last year, LEE DID. He was over used by the Rangers (who desparately needed him to throw 120 pitches per start) in the postseason. I’m not saying this is permanent. I’m saying his arm has to adjust to the extra work load. Remember how Cole struggled a bit at the beginning of last year after pitching in back-to-back WS? He turned it around. In the same way, I think we can expect Cliff to get it right. Of course, he will probably have to struggle through a so-called “dead arm” period, but he’ll be fine.

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