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Cliff just made a joke of the entire Month!!! 0.21 era in the whole month. 5-0 record, he dropped his era from like 3.90 to 2.66!! 1 run allowed the whole month in 5 starts. 3 straight complete game shutouts, hes taking no hitters into late innings.
Oh and his scoreless streak is at 32 innings. more than halfway to the record ut thats still a long ways! Cliff is fun to watch
What would Lee have to do to become a HOF candidate? As great as he's been the past few years, only his breakout 2008 was a truly great season, so not only is he well short as a career candidate, he has no case as a peak candidate yet either. Of course he should get some bonus points for his postseason performances, though his last WS was a disappointment. He's still a couple months shy of 33, so there's plenty of time for his story to be written.
He entered this year with 102 wins through his age-31 season. Dazzy Vance had his first full season at age 31 and dominated for the next decade. Phil Niekro had 66 wins by that age. Jesse Haines had 83. They are the only HOF SP with fewer wins than Lee. I *think* Vance had had a lot of arm problems, which suddenly went away. Niekro of course was a knuckleballer. I don't really know Haines's story -- he didn't reach the majors until he was about 25 and had his first full season in his age-26 season. He's considered a questionable HOF selection too. Anyway, none fit the Lee profile of an established, decent major leaguer whose talent level suddenly took a giant leap.
So, Lee's HOF chances are probably small, but you probably knew that already.
It really is so exciting to see him pitch. According to ESPN, this is the 5th time a pitcher has been 5-0 in a month with a 0.21 ERA or less since WW2. He just looked good today besides a few 3-0 counts.
This is based on nothing remotely mathematic nor analytical, but I have this feeling like Cliff Lee might turn out to be a freak who will pitch like an All-Star until he's 45. The other guy I feel that way about also pitches for the Phillies.
Sure sure Cliff Lee is making history....
but what about Chase Utley (#3 hitter) laying down the sacrifice bunt in the 6th or 7th inning. That has to be rare. I seem to remember a post about a Yaz baseball card that showed him bunting.
That's interesting, I thought it was always the scorekeepers discretion as to weather or not a player was actually attempting to sacrifice or go for the single. I guess the home field scorer gave utley the sac.
What's scary is that Cliff Lee is the THIRD best pitcher on the Phillies staff for the moment.
Cliff Lee had some very good seasons in '09 & '10. He was on a lousy Indians team in '09 and a terrible Mariners team in '10 so his W-L record doesn't show how well he pitched. He had over a 130 era+ in both seasons.
Cliff Lee set the record for the best K-BB ratio in a single full season with a 10.2 in 2010.
As far as you HOF question goes, Cliff Lee will probably need 2 more Cy Young seasons or something like 2 more 7-8 WAR seasons. Then he's probably going to need something like a 50 career WAR to be a solid HOF candidate.
Re: Cliff & the Hall -- There are just so many storylines on him now, it's impossible to predict what the dominant one will be when we look back 10-15 years from now.
Obviously, he's not on track to make the HOF on his career totals. The Cy Young Award will help, and the 2 wins over the Yanks in the 2009 Series. The story of him being the most coveted pitcher in 2009-10 might survive and help his Hall chances; I think that was one of the things that got Catfish Hunter over the hump with a low win total.
But it's hard to foresee what the final narrative will be, partly because Lee seems to change bit from year to year. Last year, he had a microscopic walk rate. This year, his strikeouts are way up. In '08, his statistical calling card was his 22-3 record. What will he be next year?
@17, John Q -- I think Pinocchio ... I mean, Mustachio might reply that an ERA+ in the 130s isn't really a "peak" season for a Hall of Famer; and if he's not going to make the Hall with overwhelming career numbers, he'll need some higher peaks. This shutout streak may be the start of a little mountain range.
M.R., re: Dazzy Vance arm trouble -- The BJHBA has a passage on that, in Dazzy's ranking. Apparently, he was one of the few pitchers of that era to be "fixed" by surgery and actually be able to pitch again.
@17 -- Cliff was 8-3 in 15 starts for that lousy Mariner team...in general Lee was given better support than King Felix (nearly five runs per game in Cliff's starts in Seattle). Cliff didn't get that same level of support in Texas (about four runs per) nor did he perform as well (had some injury issues last summer) as his ERA in TX was around 4 thanks to a wretched August (6.35 ERA)
1. Lee's K rate went way down in June, but his performance greatly increased. And yet, he's still walking hitters at a elevated pace, a stat that was seemingly dependent on his strikeout rate.
2. Lee now has 4 shutouts on the year. All other Philadelphia pitchers combinedhave 0.
3. The last player with three consecutive shutouts was Brandon Webb in 2007. Before him, the last play to accomplish the feat was in 1998. Add that to the Brandon-Webb-is-actually-a-really-good-pitcher files.
4. Halladay, Hamels, and Lee have pitched almost equally well. But taking three Philadelphia starting pitching to the All-Star game may not very likely. In that case, it's possible that Lee might be the odd man out and miss the mid-summer classic though ranking second in WAR right now.
I saw a short clip of Cliff Lee's postgame interview last night. I don't I've ever been more impressed by an athlete's total focus on his work and the big picture. Everything he said was about continuing the work he's been doing and the work he and the team have to do going forward.
Did anybody see Gio Gonzalez last night? Gave up a hit to the first batter, the only hit he gave up. My favorite was the 7th inning: walked the first batter on 4 pitches, then struck out the next three on 9. Gio is really good.
@27, Doug B -- I'm afraid your info on Hanrahan is a little out of date. As I noted in my Saturday Snippets, Hanrahan's hitless streak was ended on Saturday at 9.1 IP. He also gave up a hit last night, but remained perfect in 23 save chances.
Oh, and after an hour-long rain delay in Oakland (which never never happens in June), there were about 300 people left in the Coliseum. You could hear people quietly chatting during the radio broadcast.
@21, John A./ Dazzy Vance's arm trouble - as I recall, Vance had chronic arm trouble in the minors. One night, while playing cards, he hit his elbow sharply on the table, leading to an overwhelming pain that required immediate surgery.
The surgeon removed some bone chips that had probably been floating around for awhile, and eventually Vance's arm felt fine, and he became a dominant pitcher for about a decade.
Fun fact - in 1924, Vance had more strikeouts than the 2nd/3rd-place SO leaders combined:
1. Vance (BRO) 262
2. Grimes (BRO) 135
3. Luque (CIN) 86
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