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Cliff Lee

Posted by Andy on June 28, 2011

Dude just threw his 3rd consecutive complete-game shutout. I'd say he's hitting his stride.

39 Responses to “Cliff Lee”

  1. Neil L. Says:

    Andy, timely blog. Nice!

    So he will pitch on Sunday in the Rogers`Center against ...... wait for it ....... Jo Jo Reyes.

    With Toronto`s offensive issues, that will be a game to watch with respect to Cliff Lee making history!

    Very interesting ...... reminds me of why I love baseball.

  2. Bus Stop Rat Bag Says:

    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

  3. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ 2, don't forget his .68 WHIP.
    I know you're saying he is JUST 32 IP into his scoreless streak, but he was a hit away from being close to 50!

  4. Mustachioed Repetition Says:

    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.

  5. Dark Leviathan Says:

    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.

  6. Andy Says:

    #4, what's with your new screen name?

  7. Bret Says:

    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.

  8. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    At Pistachioed superstition:

    Randy johnson - 84 wins at 30 years of age.
    Jamie Moyer - 46 wins at 30
    warren Spahn - 8 wins at 25
    Hoyt Wilheim - 0 wins at 28

  9. Mustachioed Repetition Says:

    Randy Johnson is a good pickup -- I was only searching for guys already in the HOF and didn't think of him.

  10. Rich Says:

    In perhaps equally zany news, the Pirates are 3 GB in the NL Central

  11. Jim Says:

    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.

  12. Dark Leviathan Says:


    The MLB Network announcers were saying that he was probably trying to go for a bunt single down the 3rd base line due to the shift, but he didn't do it exactly, so it ended up becoming a sac bunt.

  13. -mark Says:

    Just a weird night: Lee's third CG no-hitter; the Mets pull 2 grand-slams out of the bag; Ichiro homers on the first pitch he sees; he Giants score 19 in a double header.

    Just a very odd night...

  14. Jim Says:


    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.

  15. Jose, can you get any hotter? » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] Jose, can you get any hotter? Posted by John Autin on June 29, 2011 « Cliff Lee [...]

  16. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Oddest are those 3 no-hitters -)

  17. John Q Says:

    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.

  18. Shping Says:

    @10 -- yes, definitely zany (better than Rockies, even, i remind my Denver friend)

    Would the Pirates pithcing staff scare anyone in the wildcard playoffs? Maybe a little...

  19. John Autin Says:

    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?

  20. John Autin Says:

    @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.

  21. John Autin Says:

    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.

  22. Bip Says:

    @13 Even Aaron Miles hit a home run today.

  23. Dickie Dunn Says:

    @17 -- Cliff was 8-3 in 15 starts for that lousy Mariner 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)

  24. John Q Says:

    @20 John A,

    I agree your comments.

    Lee probably won't be on a HOF ballot for another 15 years in which time the writing group will be younger and more Saber oriented which will help Lee.

    Lee will probably need 2 more Cy Young award caliber seasons to be a serious HOF contender.

  25. Dave Says:

    So in June he allowed 1 earned run in 42 innings, yet he accumulated 2 anyone clever enough to see if that's ever happened before?

  26. KB Says:

    Some thoughts:

    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.

  27. Doug B Says:

    off topic sort of but similar anyway since Lee's streak is over multiple games...

    Hanrahan of Pittsburgh in his last 9 innings has given up 0 hits and 1 walk. Almost a perfect game from him over the last few weeks.

  28. John Bowen Says:


    Philly's pitching coach has made it clear that Hamels will not be pitching in the ASG.

  29. KB Says:

    Well, that certainly helps Lee's chances.

  30. Abbott Says:

    Since home-field advantage is riding on the All-Star game result, I would think Bochy would want to take all the Phillies' starters and all the Giants' starters.

  31. John Autin Says:

    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.

  32. John Autin Says:

    ("... I don't think I've ever been more impressed," I meant to say.)

  33. John Autin Says:

    Speaking of the All-Star Game ... if manager really wants to win, why wouldn't he just use 9 closers for an inning each?

  34. Abbott Says:

    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.

  35. John Autin Says:

    @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.

  36. Abbott Says:

    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.

  37. John Autin Says:

    @25, Dave -- If your question is whether a pitcher has ever driven in more runs than he allowed in a given month, I don't know an efficient way to research that. A couple notes off the top of my head:

    -- In 1918, Babe Ruth qualified for the ERA title (with 18 CG in 19 starts) and allowed 51 runs all year, while driving in 66; but of course, the Babe played mostly outfield that year.

    -- In 1968, Bob Gibson allowed 3 runs in 6 July starts, and drove in 3 himself. (He also yielded just 3 runs in June, but had no RBI that month.)

    -- In 1988, Orel Hershiser allowed no runs in 6 September starts, but he had no RBI that month, either.

    Here's a table of the longest shutout streaks since 1919; you could plow through and check their batting splits for the month(s) that contained the shutout streak. I checked the first six, then ran out of steam.

  38. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @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

    I wonder if this has been done since?

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