Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lee gets to 20

I know the season isn't technically over, so saying that Cliff Lee has "completed" his personal turnaround is a bit premature. The guy probably still has five more starts in him, barring any late season injuries. But honestly, at this point what could he do as an encore??? Last night he became the first Indian in 34 years to win 20 games in a season, upping his record to a ridiculous 20-2 in his complete game 5-0 shutout of the White Sox.

Cliff showed some rare emotion after the final out

He was so dominant that he actually retired 21 straight batters after giving up two singles to lead off the game. Just add that to some other incredible numbers for Lee this year:
  • He has only reached a 3-0 count when facing a batter five times this entire season.
  • He has only faced a batter with the bases loaded four times this entire season.
  • By contrast he has been ahead in the count 0-2 against 86 batters this season, with no walks and 34 strikeouts in those situations.
  • All of the above numbers are through 26 starts and 185-1/3 innings and over 700 plate appearances against him.
Those numbers are simply staggering to me, especially when you consider he was sent to AAA Buffalo at this time last year, searching for his delivery and left off the postseason roster. I've said it here before, but in a season like this one for the Tribe Lee has been a breath of fresh air and a true reason to watch whenever he has been on the mound. If he can keep this up over the last month of the season I will be truly disappointed if he doesn't win the Cy Young award. What more could he possibly do?
"I never lost confidence," Lee said. "I never got down on myself or questioned my abilities. I never once doubted what I could do."

My only disappointment from last night's game is that my wife and I weren't in attendance. We have really enjoyed his turnaround this year, especially since I was so hard on him after a game we were at against the Red Sox in August of last year. Only 23,317 were in attendance at the Prog last night, but you can bet there will be plenty more over the years that claimed they were there.

Other Tribe Notes: Terry Pluto has more great things to say about Lee and can do a much better job than me... And it's nice to see that I'm not the only one with an extreme dislike for A.J. Pierzynski... Pat McManamon also has nothing but praise for Cliff, and rightfully so... And finally, should the Indians even bother putting in an offer for C.C. this winter? I say no. Why even waste your time?

Catching up on the long holiday weekend - you can blame me for the Tribe stumbling against the Mariners, and getting swept on the heels of a 10-game win streak. Of course my wife and I were in attendance on Friday night and that likely turned things in the wrong direction - I'm superstitious like that. But the good news is that I don't have tickets again until next Friday, August 12th against the Royals. So we'll keep tabs right here on the Tribe's quest for a winning record in 2008.

Browns Update: Not a big surprise here, but expect Derek Anderson to be in uniform for the good guys on Sunday at 4:15. On the other hand, Josh Cribbs' situation is more up in the air. If he's not in the line-up on Sunday and we win the opening coin toss, I think I'll be more than a little nervous to think that Sydric Steptoe will be the first guy to touch the ball for the 2008 Browns. And I expect around 73,000 others around me to feel similar butterflies.
"It doesn't matter what I think at this point. It's not up to me. They're going to make an assessment as the week progresses and do what's best for me and the team." - Josh Cribbs

I'll give my full thoughts and a prediction on the Browns/Cowboys matchup (likely to be incorrect) later in the week. Right now my thoughts are on planning for an epic tailgating session in the Pit on West 3rd...