Results tagged ‘ Cliff Lee ’
A quick note from last night’s victory over the Braves:
- The Phillies have won 14 consecutive Vance Worley starts. The last team to win 14 or more consecutive starts by a pitcher was the St. Louis Cardinals, who won 17 consecutive Chris Carpenter starts in 2005.
In case you were wondering:
- Baseball Prospectus estimates the Phillies have a 100 percent chance of making the playoffs. It breaks down like this: a 99.9 percent chance of winning the division and a 0.1 percent chance of winning the wild card. Yeah, that sounds about right.
- Raul Ibanez had a good night last night. I like the idea of Ibanez and John Mayberry Jr. platooning the rest of the season and into the postseason. Ibanez is hitting .262/.314/.440 against right-handers and .198/.223/.362 against left-handers, while Mayberry is hitting .286/.341/.607 against left-handers and .244/.320/.458 against right-handers. But maybe the location of the game and not just the pitcher should influence Charlie Manuel‘s lineup. Ibanez is hitting .292/.332/.525 at home and .197/.223/.362 on the road. For whatever reason, Ibanez has been a much better player at Citizens Bank Park. Maybe it’s the “Rauuuuuuuuuul” chants, but it’s something to consider once October rolls around.
- Lot of people have been asking me about the postseason rotation. There’s no debate to me. If everybody is rested, healthy and can be lined up the way the Phillies want to line them up it looks like this: Game 1 is Roy Halladay, Game 2 is Cliff Lee, Game 3 is Cole Hamels and Game 4 is Roy Oswalt. Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball, so I start him in Game 1, even if Lee is hot. Why? Because Halladay is pretty good, too. He did throw a no-hitter in last year’s playoffs. He did win the Cy Young. If he wins Game 1 and Lee is pitching like he has been, Lee will put his foot on the throat of the other team in Game 2. Or if Halladay somehow loses Game 1, then Lee will even the series. Really, there’s no wrong way to go, but that’s the way I go. And I go with Oswalt because of his pedigree. Yes, Worley has pitched great, but I like Oswalt coming up big in the postseason. Got to go with your aces.
Cliff Lee threw his sixth shutout last night. That’s the most in the big leagues since Randy Johnson threw six for Seattle and Houston in 1998. It’s also the most in the National League since Tim Belcher threw eight for Los Angeles in 1989 and the most for the Phillies since Steve Carlton threw six in 1982.
Lee has a 0.37 ERA in his last six starts. Wow, you say? Wow, indeed. Elias Sports Bureau found only two other pitchers in Phillies history had a 0.40 ERA or better in a six-start span: Carlton in 1972 and Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1915. Here is something else interesting from Elias: Lee is 16-7 with a 2.47 ERA and Roy Halladay is 16-5 with a 2.49 ERA. The only other pair of teammates over the past 40 seasons with 16 or more wins and an ERA under 2.50 on-or-before Labor Day was Pedro Martinez (17-4, 2.22 ERA) and Derek Lowe (18-6, 2.33 ERA) for Boston in 2002.
Which brings me to this: Who is the National League Cy Young?
I understand why, but Phillies fans say it’s either Halladay or Lee. Period. It seems everybody here forgets about Clayton Kershaw, who is having an incredible season in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Ian Kennedy (who leads the league in wins) and Cole Hamels (who would be more in the conversation if he had a couple more wins).
League rankings are in parenthesis:
- Wins: Kennedy – 18 (1), Kershaw – 17 (2), Halladay – 16 (3), Lee – 16 (3), Hamels – 13 (9).
- ERA: Kershaw – 2.45 (2), Lee – 2.47 (3), Halladay – 2.49 (4), Hamels – 2.63 (6), Kennedy – 2.96 (10).
- Complete games: Halladay – 7 (1), Lee – 6 (2), Kershaw – 5 (3), Hamels – 2 (5), Kennedy – 1 (17).
- Shutouts: Lee – 6 (1), Kershaw – 2 (2), Kennedy – 1 (4), Halladay – 0 (NA), Hamels – 0 (NA).
- Innings: Kershaw – 205.2 (1), Lee – 203.2 (2), Halladay – 202.2 (3), Kennedy – 194.1 (6), Hamels – 185 (10).
- Strikeouts: Kershaw – 222 (1), Lee – 204 (2), Halladay – 195 (3), Hamels – 169 (8), Kennedy – 167 (10).
- Opponents OPS: Kershaw – .566 (1), Hamels – .572 (2), Halladay – .591 (4), Lee – .599 (6), Kennedy – .660 (10).
- Base runners per 9 innings: Hamels – 8.90 (1), Kershaw – 9.28 (2), Lee – 9.50 (3), Halladay – 9.68 (4), Kennedy – 10.44 (8).
- Strikeout-to-walk ratio: Halladay – 7.50 (1), Lee – 5.10 (2), Hamels – 4.45 (3), Kershaw – 4.44 (9), Kennedy – 3.27 (10).
- WAR: Halladay – 7.2 (1), Kershaw – 6.2 (2), Lee – 5.9 (3), Hamels – 5.2 (4), Kennedy – 3.8 (11).
We can drop Kennedy from the conversation. He leads the league in wins, but wins aren’t truly indicative of a pitcher’s performance. (The bullpen blew leads in two of Halladay’s last three starts, which would have given him 18 wins.) I think Hamels would have a better shot, but in the end missing a couple starts will hurt his overall numbers when compared to Kershaw, Halladay and Lee. Now ask yourself this question: If you were a baseball writer in Milwaukee or Houston or Florida or Colorado, who is having the best season of the remaining three? Kershaw has more wins, innings and strikeouts; a better ERA, opponents OPS and base runners per 9 innings than Halladay and Lee. Halladay has more complete games and a better WAR and K-to-BB ratio than the other two. Lee has more shutouts.
Kershaw’s edge over Halladay and Lee in some of those categories is slight. Kershaw could have the edge nationally, but I’ve got to think a strong finish from Halladay or Lee, especially if Lee keeps doing what he’s doing, puts one of them ahead at the end. My vote? Halladay. He has been more consistent than Lee and he’s the undisputed ace on a rotation of aces. And the differential between Halladay and Kershaw in some of those categories is negligible. The tie goes to the best pitcher in baseball, who is playing for the best team in baseball.
What an August for Cliff Lee:
- He became just the third pitcher in baseball history to go 5-0 with an ERA under 1.00 in two separate months in the same season. He went 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA in June and 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA in August. He joined Bob Gibson in 1968, who went 6-0 with a 0.50 ERA in June and 6-0 with a 0.50 ERA in July, and Walter Johnson in 1913, who went 5-0 with a 0.24 ERA in April and 6-0 with a 0.81 ERA in July.
- Lee also became the first pitcher to throw at least seven scoreless innings in at least 10 starts in the same season since Dwight Gooden and John Tudor in 1985. Gooden and Tudor accomplished the feat 11 times.
- He was one out from throwing his sixth shutout of the season, which would have been the most in the National League since Tim Belcher threw eight in 1989 and the most for the Phillies since Steve Carlton threw six in 1982.
- Told about Lee’s connection to Gibson and Johnson, Charlie Manuel said, “I would have liked to hit off Walter. I never saw him, but I’d like to swing at him.”
- Lee said he didn’t realize he waved toward first base when he grounded out in the fourth inning. But he said he should have ran.
Cliff Lee pitches tonight against the Reds. He has thrown seven or more shutout innings in nine of his starts this season.
Yes, that’s a lot.
Baseball Reference said with one more start like that he would become the first pitcher since Dwight Gooden and John Tudor in 1985 to accomplish it 10 times in one season. Click the link to take a look at others on the list.
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They moved Sunday afternoon’s game against the Florida Marlins to 1:05 p.m. Saturday as part of a day-night doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park. Tickets for Sunday’s game will be honored for Saturday afternoon’s game. The Cliff Lee gym bag giveaway, which had been scheduled for Sunday, also will be moved to Saturday afternoon.
Gates will open at 11:05 a.m. for the 1:05 p.m. game.
Saturday night’s game will remain at 7:05 p.m. Gates will open at 6:05 p.m. for the night game.
Roy Halladay will pitch Game 1 of the doubleheader. He will face Anibal Sanchez. Cliff Lee will pitch Game 2. The Marlins have night announced their starter for the night game.
He will throw one more bullpen session early next week and if that goes well he said he should rejoin the rotation Friday against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Hamels missed a start this week because of inflammation in his left shoulder.
“Cole is moving along fine,” Rich Dubee said.
Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick will face the Mets at home next week. Hamels would open the series against the Marlins with Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay pitching Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Placido Polanco sounded optimistic he could be back in action Monday.
He has been on the DL since Aug. 7 because of a sports hernia. He recently received a cortisone injection and said today he feels “much better” than he had just a few days ago. He said he thinks he will be activated from the DL Monday.
Jose Contreras had been scheduled to throw a bullpen session today, but that has been pushed back to Monday. Charlie Manuel called it a “setback,” while Dubee said Contreras simply felt he was not ready to throw off a mound.
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Cliff Lee touched home plate, looked toward the visitor’s bullpen 360 feet away, brushed his right hand with his left hand like a bank teller counting out cash and smiled.
It was not a home run celebration.
It was a message to Kyle Kendrick, who was sitting in the bullpen, to pay up. Lee and Kendrick are in a home run competition and Lee had just blasted his second homer of the season in the seventh inning of last night’s 2-1 victory over the Dodgers. Lee said he thought about Kendrick “pretty much instantly” when the ball sailed over the right-field wall.
“It’s just a friendly wager,” Lee said. “It’s a little side deal.”
So what are the stakes?
“I think we’re going to keep that between us,” he said. “We can call it dinner or whatever you want to call it.”
Shortly after Lee’s homer Roy Oswalt called the bullpen to send a message to Kendrick, although bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer had to hang up because he was trying to get Ryan Madson loose.
Kendrick played off his mounting deficit. He trails, 2-0.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kendrick said. “He owes me.”
Cliff Lee threw his fifth shutout of the season last night at AT&T Park. If that seems like a lot, it is. He is one of just four pitchers since 1998 to throw five or more shutouts in a season:
- A.J. Burnett: five in 2002.
- Dontrelle Willis: five in 2005.
- CC Sabathia: five in 2008.
If Lee can throw one more shutout before the end of the season, he would be just the 12th pitcher in the last 30 seasons to throw six or more shutouts:
- John Tudor: 10 in 1985.
- Tim Belcher: eight in 1989.
- Roger Clemens: eight in 1988.
- Dwight Gooden: eight in 1985.
- Orel Hershiser: eight in 1988.
- Roger Clemens: seven in 1987.
- Steve Carlton: six in 1982.
- Danny Jackson: six in 1988.
- Randy Johnson: six in 1998.
- Tim Leary: six in 1988.
- Jack Morris: six in 1986.
A few thoughts before this week’s series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field:
- Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee did not pitch this weekend in New York, but the Phillies won 2 of 3. And the one game they lost Cole Hamels pitched. I agreed with Rich Dubee‘s decision to push back Halladay and Lee. Give them a little extra rest whenever possible. An extra day. An extra inning. Anything will help them feel a little fresher in October.
- From Elias Sports Bureau: Antonio Bastardo recorded the final four outs of the Phillies’ victory yesterday to notch his sixth save, but allowed one run and two hits in the process. That’s noteworthy because Bastardo entered the game having held opponents hitless in their last 37 at-bats. He extended that streak to 39 at-bats before surrendering a double to Daniel Murphy with one out in the ninth inning to snap the second-longest hitless streak against any pitcher this season. Justin Verlander held batters hitless in 46 consecutive at-bats over a three-game span (May 2-13) that sandwiched his May 7 no-hitter.
- Hearing the heat index in Chicago is going to be brutal this week. Awesome!
The second half of the 2011 season starts tonight with Vance Worley.
It continues this weekend with Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick.
It will be interesting to ask Charlie Manuel or Rich Dubee this afternoon if Cliff Lee would have pitched Sunday against the Mets had he not pitched Tuesday in the All-Star Game. I say that because before the break Dubee announced Worley would pitch Friday and Hamels would pitch Saturday. He left Sunday’s starter TBA, indicating they wanted to see what happened at the All-Star Game.
But Lee pitched and so now Roy Halladay (Monday) and Lee (Tuesday) are pitching next week against the Cubs. I know fans wanted to see Halladay or Lee face the Mets, but I don’t have a problem with this. Dubee wants to squeeze an extra day or inning of rest wherever and whenever possible for Halladay, Lee and Hamels. They’ve pitched a lot of innings. In a perfect world the offense continues to hit so Halladay, Lee and Hamels aren’t pitching in 2-1, 3-2, 1-0 games every time out. If the offense can give them some 6-1, 5-1, 7-2 leads, you would think Manuel and Dubee would pull Halladay, Lee and Hamels in the eighth instead of the ninth, or the seventh instead of the eighth. Those innings and days can add up and keep them fresher come October.
The Phillies took optional BP yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Domonic Brown, John
Mayberry Jr., Ross Gload, Brian Schneider, Michael Martinez and Lee participated. Yes, Lee showed up to take optional BP.
Will be interesting to see how Placido Polanco‘s back is feeling. He has not played since July 4.
Will be interesting to see how Ryan Madson is doing. He made a rehab appearance for Class A Clearwater on Wednesday. He struck out one and hit a batter in one inning. Dubee, who lives in nearby Sarasota, watched him pitch.