What’s Wrong, Cliff?

Nobody seems to know what’s wrong with Cliff Lee.

Actually, they do know. They’re just not saying.

Consider this:

  • He has allowed five or more earned runs in three consecutive starts, carrying an 8.64 ERA in that span.
  • He has a 5.68 ERA in his last eight starts, blowing two three-run leads, one two-run lead and one one-run lead.
  • He has a 5.87 ERA in six starts since Roy Halladay threw his last pitch for the Phillies on May 27.
  • He is 0-5 with a 4.13 ERA for the season.
  • The Phillies are 3-10 when he starts.

Is Lee healthy?

“Physically, I feel fine,” he said.

Is he tipping pitches?

“I don’t know,” he said.

Are the winless record and recent struggles getting to him, affecting him mentally on the mound and in between starts?

“No,” he said.

This is just my opinion, but I think Lee’s problems are more mental than mechanical. I think he’s frustrated and I think those frustrations have carried onto the mound. I tried asking Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee about Lee’s struggles today, but Dubee wasn’t about to offer any insight about his $120 million ace.

“I’m not going there,” he said.

Why not?

“He doesn’t need anything in the paper.”

Are you concerned?

“Yeah, I want to see him pitch better. Yeah.”

Do you think it’s easily fixable?

“I’m not going into it.”

But it is fixable?

“Does he have talent still? Yeah? Well.”

Could it just be a bad stretch?

“I’m not going into it.”

Do you think his frustrations are affecting him mentally?

“I’m not going into it.”

If it were an easily fixable mechanical problem, I suspect Dubee would have just said, “We saw something. We’re working on it.” But if it’s more of a mental issue, he might not want that being discussed publicly. Maybe that’s why he didn’t say anything this afternoon.

Then again, sometimes Dubee just isn’t in the mood to talk.

10 Comments

“$120 million ace?” You earn the Ace title. Lee is not the Ace of this staff by any means.

Can anyone name a pitcher that Rich Dubee has helped?

Lee was an ace. He pitched great when he was here the first time, he pitched lights out at times last year. This year, he is struggling, but I think it’s fair to call him an ace.

Pitching staffs only have one Ace.

For those of you who need proof: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_(baseball)

Good one, Ernie. Dubee didn’t answer because he has no idea whats wrong. Ask him why he was fired as pitching coach of Marlins. Or ask him why 4 out of 5 startes missed an entire or most of a season. (Penny, Olsen, Burnett, Willis, Beckett)

Dubee seems to be seriously underperforming. What are the odds that ALL these pitchers are struggling under his coaching? Milt Thompson got fired when they weren’t hitting. Why is Dubee safe? Why is he not at least called to task?!

Just a thought but is it possible that the incessant trade speculation, even when he was pitching very well, have messed with his head? After signing back here he repeatedly said how nice it was going to be to not have to worry about being traded again, to know he was going to be here for the next five years, etc. But less than two years into his contract credible sources like Jim Salisbury are writing about the Phillies shopping him. He has to be aware of this. Let’s be honest, the Rangers are a better team and the Yankees an iconic organization that will always be competitive but he was determined to come back here. He ‘s going to look a little foolish if RAJ pulls the rug from under him a second time. Again, this talk started when he was having great outtings. Money doesn’t prevent you from being human, on some level he has to be seriously twisted.

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