Phils are leading the Reds 9-4 in the 8th of their series ending affair this afternoon as I type this post. Cliff Lee has had a hand in about everything. He blew a 4-0 lead, but since has rallied with 2 hits and 3 RBIs to push the boys back in front. If the Phillies bullpen hadn’t thrown 1.3 million pitches last night, Lee might not even have gotten his chance to wield the lumber, but one of the reasons he said he wanted to come to Philly was to hit, so he might as well be productive up there from time to time. The victim was Cincy’s “take one for the team” man, Daryl Thompson. I don’t think the Phillies took into account Lee’s offense when they dropped 125 million on him, or whatever the total was. Maybe they should have.
Is it a bad time to bring up that Lee hasn’t really been worth the money yet on the mound? Aside from a few brilliant performances Lee has been pretty average except for his strike out rate, which doesn’t really matter when you are giving up big innings and blowing leads. Don’t get me wrong, Lee more often than not looks like a top-10 pitcher in the NL, but is that really what we were paying him for? Cliff already has 4 or 5 “Blantons” this year. Six innings, 3 runs. Five innings, 4 runs. Today he couldn’t protect a four run lead. As an aside, why do the Phillies let the same guys kill them over and over again? How many RBIs does Jay Bruce have to pile up in this series?
Getting back to Lee, I guess I am just saying I’d like a bit more consistency. I know he was signed for the post-season so we can’t really judge until we get to that point, but the Phillies do need him to win his share before he gets there. I know the advanced stat people will praise his strikeouts and his ERA+ and fielding independent pitching, but I do think those stats can miss some things. And, perhaps they put too much weight on the dominant outings? Lee’s best is certainly among the absolute best of any pitcher in the league, but how often does he get there?
There is part of me too that wants to get back to the time when the pitcher took a little more responsibility. Kind of like the quarterback in football. Some things aren’t necessarily in his control, but how about taking the brunt? I’ve never heard of a stat, “passing independent receiving.” Sure, we know when a guy is the victim of some drops, but it all usually falls on the QB’s head, and I think that should be the case with pitchers some of the time. Ok, you don’t get run support, but I think sometimes you have to make adjustments, rise to the occasion. I suppose the advanced stats don’t believe in such things, because each game is played out mathematically, but at the end of the day people still want to know if you won the game.
So, that’s my little Cliff Lee mini-rant, on a nice easy afternoon where the Phillies manage to level off at 10-10 for their stretch against contenders (not too bad in the end). They scored 28 runs in the four game series against the Reds and have some lesser teams coming up to maintain the momentum…hopefully. I like Cliff Lee a lot, but I could already hear people explaining away his game today if the Phillies didn’t retake the lead and win (the game has ended, 10-4 as I continue to ramble on here). I know he pitched well in the post-season, and nonchalantly caught a pop-up, but there are guys on the team I like a little better. And, there are guys who probably deserve some of the slack that Lee is given in spades.
Feasting on Offensive Futility Day 3:
Well, this is far easier than picking actual games. Even with a 3 game sample, I can see that. The A’s managed to do their usual against the Angels last night and I cruised to another under, bringing my record to 2-1. This is the first time I’ve head my head above water in any type of baseball betting scenario. You’re welcome. Today, I’m stuck with quite the dilemma. Only two night games. Should I show discipline and take the night off, or keep firing away? Think we all know the answer to that:
Today’s selection: Chicago and Toronto Under 8.0.
Quiz of the Day: This Day in History: June__. Category: Actual Knowledge. My Score: 23/30*
Two spelling look ups.