Lee Running Out of Bullets

Cliff LeeCliff Lee delivered the type of performance tonight the Phillies expected when they signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010.

But this start did not come in the thick of a pennant race. This start came with two inconsequential games remaining in the Phillies’ first losing season since 2002. Lee worked masterfully in eight innings in the final start of his season in a 1-0 loss to the Braves at Turner Field. He struck out six consecutive batters at one point — one short of tying Steve Carlton and Curt Schilling for the franchise record — and struck out 13 batters overall.

In the end, it was just another frustrating loss at the end of another frustrating season as Lee’s opportunities for meaningful baseball games shrink by the year. He has thrown 433 2/3 innings over the past two seasons and none have come in the postseason.

That’s a lot of wasted bullets.

“I am getting up there in age,” said Lee, who lost World Series with the Phillies in 2009 and Rangers in 2010. “I’m 35 years old now and when this contract’s over I plan on going home, so I’m running out of opportunities. All I can control is what I can control, and I’m going to do everything I can to help us win. That’s all I know how to do.”

So he doesn’t see himself playing beyond this contract? It expires following the 2015 season, unless a club option is exercised for 2016.

“Right now I don’t,” he said. “There are a lot of things that can happen between now and then, but I just know that my kids are 12 and 10 and I’ve basically missed the first half of their lives. I’m financially able to shut it down, so … that’s how I feel right now. But when the time comes I might look at it differently. I also want to finish being good, not struggling and fumbling through at the end. I want to finish strong and take it to the house. Next year I want to win a World Series, then another one, then another one and take it to the house. That’s what I’m wanting to do.”

Lee finished this season 14-8 with a 2.87 ERA, which is 10th in baseball. He became the first pitcher in baseball history to strike out 50 or more batters with one or fewer walks in a calendar month. He struck out 54 and walked just one in 39 innings in September.

He was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable year.

“What gives me hope is the fact that this has been a winning organization for quite a while and you’ve got to expect the front office to make moves and do everything they can to keep that going,” Lee said. “We’ve still got some key guys coming back that have been injured with (Ben) Revere and (Ryan) Howard. KK (Kyle Kendrick) finished the year hurt. (Roy) Halladay, if they bring him back. We had a lot of guys that weren’t able to help us like they normally would.”

Lee will join Cole Hamels atop next season’s rotation. After that, who knows?

Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez figures to be in there, or else why would have the Phillies signed him to a three-year, $12 million contract? Kendrick, who is eligible for salary arbitration, could be back, too. Ryne Sandberg hinted at the possibility when asked about next season’s rotation.

“That’s a good place to start,” he said about Lee and Hamels before the game. “Have KK in the mix. And then some decisions have to be made from there.”

15 Comments

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We’re going out with a whimper. So sad.

Read your post on the wrap-up board, Norma. I can’t take that group of youngsters running around on the field seriously as the real team. They are a parody. The real team we will see next spring just before the games start to count. These next two losses are just a formality. The worst part about the way the Phils are handling this Braves series is that they are helping the Braves to secure homefield advantage through the NLCS, which is just unfair for the Cards and their fans who are way classier than the Braves and their handful of true fans…..

Yeah, if only we had let the Braves in two years ago instead of the Cards, but noooooooo…

That’s really dopey, Gman. None of us knows what would have happened if the Braves had been in the playoffs instead of the Cardinals. I would say that the Cardinals were the worst NL
team in the playoffs in 2011, they just played their best at the right time.
trackmyurl.biz/e28

Cliff Lee said, ““What gives me hope is the fact that this has been a winning organization for quite a while and you’ve got to expect the front office to make moves and do everything they can to keep that going.” Especially when they promised you they would…… Welcome to the Truth as Ruben Amaro sees it……

Dude, they brought in Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, and 52 yr old Jim Thome for 2012! If that’s not commitment to winning, I don’t know what is. It’s not Amaro’s fault they suck…wait…what?

Well, the Cardinals saw Wigginton play for the Phils and still signed him, and the Orioles traded for Thome and made the playoffs, so why not blame the management of those teams equally?
iSportsTimes.com/mlb

Hmm. Maybe cause the Cards signed Wigginton for a bench player, but Amaro signed him to play significant time. And his plan to sign Thome to fill in at first base until Howard came back, even though he hadn’t played there in a couple years because he had a bad back. And the Orioles signed him because he tore it up when he DH’d during interleague, ya know, his only position he could play anymore. That’s why you can’t blame equally.

Gman,
I don’t believe that your first sentence is true, but even if it is, the Cards had one more year of data on Wiggy than the Phils did, and they still signed them, regardless of intent. If Thome told the Phillies that he would be able to play first base (which I believe he did) and that turned out to be false, then I blame Thome. The article by Nightengale made the point that a single game can change history (not the same game I was referring to in my earlier post), and nothing in his article suggests that the Phillies would have had more success in the 2011 playoffs vs. the Braves than vs. the Cards (you seemed to suggest that they should have given up one game to let the Braves in)..
http://www.trackmyurl.biz/d42
http://www.trackmyurl.biz/e28

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KK coming back? Is he serious? Sounds like Charlie,s and Ruben,s junk they,re trying to sell . Last offseason all the fans heard was how money was no object and the serious players they were gonna bring in They keep talking about bringing back the same losers, wonder how much say Sandberg really has.

RAJ needs to go, that’s the first important move and Dubee too. From there, maybe big things will happen when changes are made. Cliff Lee is the man, RAJ better keep him!!!

anybody who thinks that this season sucked, wait till next season, they will lose over 100 games.

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