“See, he’s throwing that spiked curve. It’s a spiked curve. See how the ball drops there, he’s got that spiked curve. If you’ll also notice, the ball is slower across the plate than when it’s released from the pitcher’s hand. Incredible! Spiked curve! The Yankees remind me of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, but worse. For FOX, I’m Tim McCarver”
Photo courtesy of daylife.com
1. Cliff Lee currently strikes out about 6.5 batters per game. Assuming that rate stays consistent over his remaining 10 starts this season, he will need to walk a little over 8 batters per game in order to end with a league average K:BB ratio.
2. In 2004, he allowed 6 runs over 4.1 innings in Toronto. As he was walking to the dugout, he threw his glove twenty rows into the stands. On July 21, 2007, he hit Sammy Sosa in the head on a night when the Rangers were honoring Sosa for his 600th home run, sparking a fight between Lee and his then-catcher Victor Martinez. Martinez was upset that Lee didn’t come to the plate to find out how Sosa was, leading to a closed-door players-only meeting.
3. In his next outing in Cleveland, the Red Sox lit him up for seven earned runs and he was booed off the mound. While walking to the dugout, he mockingly tipped his cap to the fans. He was optioned to the minors the next day with a 6.29 ERA.
4. Despite Facts 2 and 3, and his suspension (later rescinded) for throwing at the head of Chris Snyder, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find articles discussing Cliff Lee’s attitude.
5. When Lee was optioned to the minors with a 6.29 ERA in 2007, his K/BB ratio was almost identical to AJ Burnett’s current K/BB ratio.
6. He was once traded from the Expos along with Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens to the Indians in exchange for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew.
7. His ERA (2.43) is nearly identical to his FIP (2.44). His xFIP and SIERA are both about a half a point higher. In his career, he has shown no platoon split: righties have a .710 OPS against and lefties have a .713 OPS against. In 2010, he has been much harder on righties than lefties: righties have a .537 OPS against and lefties have a .703. In 2009 it was the exact opposite.
8. Lee has made 19 starts this season. In only one of those starts did he fail to go at least 7 innings. In three of his starts he pitched 7 innings, and in the remaining 15 starts Lee has pitched at least 8 innings. He has thrown 6 complete games and has averaged 8.5 innings per start since coming to Texas.
9. Despite his tendency to go deep into games, Lee hasn’t exactly been abused. When he pitched for the Mariners he averaged 109 pitches per game. Since coming to the Rangers, his average is 105. His season high is 118 pitches, and it came in his last outing against the Athletics. Despite that, Lee only ranks 28th on Baseball Prospectus’ Pitcher Abuse Points scoring system.
10. He has the third-lowest pitches per plate appearance of any qualified major league pitcher. He has the fifth-lowest OPS-against of any qualified major league pitcher. He has the lowest pitches per inning of any qualified major league pitcher.