Cliff Lee’s A Lumberjack.

Hitterish.

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.

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14 thoughts on “Cliff Lee’s A Lumberjack.

  1. 25 with one spelling look-up. Would have been 26 except that future quiz-takers may note that there was not a historical event that took place this month called the “Seven Day War” as I repeatedly asserted.

  2. yeah, DC, that was like the only like one this dumb girl got. and i was still wrong. i still can’t think of the abbey one, and weren’t those royal kids just married there?

    that quiz made me think of how i once was taught the epic international events in history, at an expensive summer program at georgetown: the teacher, billy joel, projected through speakers…the lesson, “we didn’t start the fire.” we had to memorize the song, and that afternoon – i had decided i had no future possibilities in diplomacy. that, and i can’t manage to spell in my native language.

    in other news, i belly laughed at “hitterish.”

    i wanna looks at that caption again…here i go.
    well said. Q

  3. oh, and now that i read the blog post…my opinion: Phillies are starting to play more like a team. which actually makes me a lot happier, than if we went back in time…and went pitchers accountable like quarterbacks. cause, honestly, i think a lot of people…but Q fo’ sure, was worried we’d have 4 superstars and a team of Apprentices. we’re all Trumps now, baby…even valdez and francisco on that rare occasion.

    and when were pitchers more accountable? edumucate my ignorant cuss.

    i always remember the sluggers.

    oh, and well, i’m the daughter of a Defensive Coordinator…so let’s clarify, the greatest offense if not a great quarterback, it’s a great defense.

    Q

  4. Well, first I’d say that Cliff Lee is obviously a good pitcher, and all of that. I’m not saying, oh my god Cliff Lee sucks, or is a bust, but…

    I just think specifically here, Cliff can do no wrong when in actuality he’s had a handful of very average games so far this season.

    And, he doesn’t get blamed for anything, regardless.

    If the Phillies jump out 3-1 and then lose 4-3, it’s like well, Cliff did his job…

    On a team that has invested so much money in pitching, you are going to have to win some of those games 3-2. Like today, everyone is excited he got two hits and thinks he had a great game, but he really didn’t. He blew a four run lead. It worked out fine, and it’s not a huge deal at all, I just wish he was a little more consistent for what he’s being paid.

    In general I think way back pitchers were judged more on wins and losses and more basic stats. The new stat movement basically belittles anyone who mentions a pitcher’s win/loss record. It’s like they have no bearing on the outcome, they’re just out there pitching.

    And, while that certainly is true to a certain extent, I think on a good team especially it matters if you are winning games, or at least the team is winning games you start.

    It seems like everyone wants to feel sorry for our starters, but they’re supposed to be good (and they are) it’s just interesting what the perception is.

    For example, when Halladay pitched against Texas they jumped out 2-1 and the announcer said that it was the first time the Phils had given him a lead in a long time. But, in truth he had been given a lead in his previous two starts (1-0 and 2-1). He lost both of those games, and he did pitch well, but against Atlanta specifically that’s a game that you’d like to see him win regardless of what the offense did. And, that’s really what I’m talking about.

  5. um, so that maybe year ending injury for buster posey…do we see that as a result of a standard, acceptable slide (sort of slide)…like, i guess i am asking, are there any regulations about how one can plow into the plate? i know in football that would look like a light hit…but, to me, my gut reaction was…dude, juice rage?

    not that i sympathize with the giants though i do like lincecum and i’m not afraid to say it. i just STRONGLY dislike that former Philly on the team and Cody stupid Ross.

    Q

  6. It was a clean play.

    This is why every team that gets a young catcher that is a major offensive weapon contemplates changing their position.

    The Nationals didn’t let Bryce Harper catch one inning in the minors–straight to right field.

    I’m not rejoicing over the injury, but it’s the way it goes. The Phils have their share of guys hurt.

  7. Season ending? That thing is a career ender, he’s in legit jeopardy of never coming back and never being the player he was. It’s a shame.

    Somewhere i heard that it’s technically illegal for catchers to block the plate like Posey was doing, but that since it’s been happening for 75 years, it just has been assimilated into the rules. Not sure if that’s true or not though. Kind of like how palming the ball in basketball has become acceptable.

    • i’m sad too. i liked his name. buster posey. it’s a cute name for a dog? or maybe two different dogs…

      hey buster, hey posey…get over here, bleepers!

      3-Putt, i’m practicing animal gender equality. they’d both be females.

      Q

  8. I haven’t really heard career ending…

    I imagine it will be a long road back, but it’s not like the guy is a running back.

    and, no ligament tears.

  9. My interpretation of blocking the plate is this– it’s illegal to impede the path of a baserunner, however you might as well do it at the plate since they can’t be awarded another base. If you get the ball in time, you then are not impeding the baserunner. From my observations, if the catcher catches and holds on to the ball, regardless of if an actual tag is placed, and the runner collides with him, then the runner is called out– which makes sense as they are interfering with a defensive player with the ball.

    I actually think that its odd how if the ball is clearly caught and possessed by the catcher that if a collision occurs, the call defaults to if the catcher hung on to it. If there was a run down going on you cant just run people over that have the ball.

  10. well, I don’t know exactly what the rule book says. I actually took a second to look at it, but I didn’t find anything and it’s hard to locate what you’re looking for.

    I agree with the first part, they set up blocking the plate with the intention of getting the ball. If they don’t get, they let the guy score and if they do they have a right to be there.

    But, if they do have the ball, the runner still has a right to try to get to the base. It’s not a force out. And, there’s nothing saying that as soon as the catcher is in possession of the ball that the play is over.

    I think in most collisions, there is a tag made of some sort, though the umpire probably gives benefit of the doubt there if the guy holds on. The runner isn’t being called out for interference.

    You could do the same thing at any base I think, in theory. It just doesn’t happen, and I think that is where the accepted and unwritten baseball comes into play. You can’t go around trucking 2nd baseman and 3rd baseman. You’d probably get hit in the head your next time up.

    It’s like breaking up a double play. Guys come in hard there, it’s not much different. And, if they wanted to they could come charging into 2nd standing up, but they don’t because that’s a good way to get hit in the face with a ball.

    I think just because of circumstance and how the rules get played out you have the home plate collision. And, he’s got to maintain possession through the tag. The same is true for any tag. If you slap a tag on a guy stealing 2nd, you have to hold on there too.

    I don’t think they are going to change anything, but I expect less and less catchers are setting up to get hammered these days. If they think it’s going to be a close play they step out in front and try to make the tag.

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