Commentary: Cliff Lee Gets an A-plus – Phillies Nation

Commentary: Cliff Lee Gets an A-plus

I’m an absolute skeptic by nature.  Growing up in this town made me that way.  Friends and family have chastised me for it.  So, for me to throw around glowing remarks is quite contrary to my generally harsh criticisms.  However, this grading shouldn’t come as much as a surprise.

Cliff Lee is an absolute beast; a workhorse that cannot be tamed.  It’s been three starts as a Phillie, and its completely obvious he deserves the highest marks for a job superbly done.

For a moment, we all wondered whether or not this would be the right move.  Roy Halladay was so damn close, Phillies fans were already buying their fake red beards.  Even Doc thought he was going to be here, but alas it was not to be.

Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee smiles from the dugout after pitching in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 3-1. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Instead, we had to settle for “the other Cy Young winner” being dangled at the deadline.  Instead of the red beard, we’ll have to settle for the soul patch.  Facial Hair = A

In his three starts as a Phillie, Lee has given up three earned runs over 24 innings, while averaging 114 pitches per outing.  A BB/K ratio of 6/23 tells the tale of surgeon-like precision around the plate.  On Comcast SportsNet last night, he mentioned his cutter was working.  Perhaps he should nickname that pitch “The Scalpel,” as it slices through the zone, carving up the hitter’s swing and psyche all at once.  Mound presence = A+

Forget home runs, I’d much rather see a pitcher in his prime, hitting every spot necessary, making every game about him.  Cliff Lee is simply taking over games right now, and in turn, is taking over the National League.  Hell, he’s even doing it with the stick. You get the best of both worlds from him. He is this year’s C.C. Sabathia.  Offense = A

If there is a flaw here, I haven’t seen it.  Lee pitches with unbridled exultation, yet composes himself through uncompromising focus that draws his teammates in like a gravitational field.  Too much?  Maybe.  But you can’t deny the dude is good, and is making everyone around him jump up a level when he is on the mound.

When he is not on the mound, the rest of the staff is doing their best to follow suit.  Joe Blanton has been lights out and J.A. Happ has been remarkably consistent. The only one left to join the fray is Cole Hamels.  The similarities are uncanny between the two pitchers as they are both lanky lefties that rely more on comfort than speed.  They will not blow you away, but they can if their secondary pitches are in top form.  Recently, we haven’t seen that from Hamels, and this Saturday we will find out if he can truly give this team a second ace.

I’ll admit, I wanted Roy Halladay to wear the red pinstripes.  But I will also declare my passion for keeping the farm system stocked for the future.  Cliff Lee was a bargain by industry standards, but is clearly a gem.  The Phillies did not break the bank, and are enjoying the same type of pitching they would have likely received from Halladay. Will this sizzling streak continue?  Hard to say, of course, since he is new to the league, and hasn’t been seen enough by the opposition.  But through three games in Philly, the results are sparkling.

Cliff Lee is the energy drink, the shot of espresso this team desired.  One by one, he is tossing teammates onto his broad shoulders, leading his mates toward the Promised Land once again.  Overall, Cliff Lee gets himself a well-deserved A+.

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  1. phils_ftw

    August 14, 2009 at 1:48 pm


  2. Georgie

    August 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm


  3. Nationals#1

    August 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    he’s been great but it’s still too early. he’s only pitched 3 games…

  4. Jim

    August 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Through three starts he’s definitely been outstanding. I’d like to see Charlie keep him well below 122 pitches from now on. Maybe no more than 100 pitches for a few starts – that arm needs to be in good shape come September/October.

  5. Miles

    August 14, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    If he continues this success and goes all Hamels-esque during a postseason run, my firstborn will be named Clifford, be it a girl or boy.

    Worrisome side note….Cole is not listed as a probable starter for any of the games this weekend. Tonight is Blanton, Sunday is Happ, and tomorrow is apparently TBA.

  6. Jeff

    August 14, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I like Hamels but love Lee. He is the pitcher we needed. He is the pitcher we though Hamels would be after giving us an incredible run in post season. Things have changed. Lee is your ACE. He is the guy that will stop the bleeding. Yes its only three starts but you can tell what kind of pitcher he is. He is meant to play in Philadelphia. A blue collar worker. A Curt Schilling type.

  7. Bob Kahn

    August 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Lee is a solid pitcher. He is not Halladay but for the money and the prospects he is the quality deal.

    If you are looking for a weakness, and this is based on only one viewing, I would say bunting. I saw him in Phila last week and he was absolutely horrible. Could not even make contact. We need to get Moyer to give him some lessons!

  8. Jeff

    August 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Your crazy Bob. Thats like saying Pamela Anderson has a pimple on her butt. Bunting. The guy has dominated all three starts and is batting over .300. Halladay could not do any better. We got our guy.

  9. Miles

    August 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Yeah I don’t want to hear anymore of the he isn’t Halladay but he’s good enough garbage anymore. Reality check: He is Halladay in the NL. Any advantage Halladay has on him ability-wise is evened out by the NL competition that Lee is facing. People can still argue that Halladay would have been even better YET in the NL, but he would have a pretty darn tough time trying to match Lee’s first 3 starts.

    It’s time for Eskin and some of the other geniuses in the media who were pissed that we “settled” for Lee to start eating some crow.

  10. The Original Chuck P

    August 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Pam Anderson’s pimple ain’t got squa-doosh on Cliff Lee….

    Weakness=bunting… I almost wet myself. The guy is batting .333 with two extra base hits. Maybe we should give him a pass on bunting (considering he has never had more than 8 at bats in a season prior to this year).

  11. The Original Chuck P

    August 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Miles… thanks for reminding me; I just turned on 610. I can’t wait to hear Eskin eat crow about this Mike Vick issue… he’s doing the dance… talking about the Phillies/Brett Myers issue. What a joke… he is trying his best not to give the Eagles a free pass but he’s definitely not willing to budge from modus operandi… love the Eagles, hate the Phillies.

  12. Jeff

    August 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Has anyone checked the Cubs Pirates game out. The Cubs have 17 runs in three innings and the Pirates have 2. Derek Lee has 7 rbis. You think they are happy our pitching left town.

  13. Mazinman

    August 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I think the first sign that Lee would be a great signing for the Phillies came early in the process when he was asked about adjusting to the NL. His reply included saying “I’m going to have to work on my bunting.” That demonstrated to me that he has a firm grasp of the fundamentals needed to win a game. Yeah he is having problems with it now but I gotta imagine he never got much experience with it in the AL and he seems to have the right attitude to fix that.

    At this moment I don’t regret not taking Halladay at all. Lee has been sensational, Fransico has turned into a nice bench player, and we get to keep Happ who continues to do well. Looking at the total picture, we are much better off right now making the Lee trade.

  14. Repeat!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Cliff Lee has his own cologne?

  15. Pingback:

  16. Chuck

    August 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Repeat!….is that a meatstick that woman is eating at the 20 second mark?…

  17. The Original Chuck P

    August 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    She’s eating a Snickers bar… it’s a Snickers commercial.

  18. Jeff

    August 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I am a Giants fan. Yes, Phillies and Giants. Dont ask. The Giants have class. The Eagles let Dawkins go but pick up a slime like Vick. Piece of trash for the headlines. Thats why they will never win the big game. The Giants have 3 titles in my lifetime. Thats all I can ask.

  19. Chuck

    August 14, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    That’s the biggest Snickers bar I’ve ever seen.

    In all seriousness….Cliff Lee. The man is like a machine. Don’t you just feel like every time he pitches the Phillies have a really good chance of winning?

  20. Chuck

    August 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Jeff…The Eagles didn’t LET Dawkins go….They chose not to re-sign him. Happens all the time…Sports is a business.

    Vick is being given a second chance. Do yourself a favor….listen to Jeffrey Lurie’s press conference from today and think about all he said. It was pretty impressive.

    And….how is what Vick did any different than Brett Myers beating his wife a few years ago? He’s a hero now, right?

  21. Miles

    August 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Jeff you act as if you don’t have any criminals on your team? Haha its the NFL bro. Pierce will probably lead a prison break to get out Plax in a year or so.

    And that Cubs game is unreal….the Pirates are a disgrace. A good friend of mine is next on the depth chart at catcher though and is rotting at AAA. I hope Jaramillo breaks his leg tomorrow so that they bring him up.

  22. Havoc

    August 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I hear ya Chuck P I wish I wasn’t stuck at work I really want to hear Eskin spin this one. Personally, I agree that everyone deserves a second chance, if you’ve paid your debt to society. But it’s a second chance at freedom, life, and to do the right thing, not to step out of prison and right into a contract worth millions of dollars. I’m rooting for B-Dawk and the Broncos this year.

  23. The Original Chuck P

    August 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I’m sick of talking/hearing about Mike Vick… mostly, it’s a moral issue and there is no right or wrong answer. I’m willing to forgive him… I’m not an Eagles fan but if I was, I would be a little bit upset that they did it… aside from the on-field stuff (the fact that he hasn’t stepped on a field in two years and he’s going to be a huge distraction), he’s a representative of the Eagles organization (they’re going to lose a lot of money over this) and I don’t know if I would like that. He did some terrible things and he served some time (maybe it wasn’t enough)… that’s what our judicial system is for. I don’t know if he deserves to be an employee of the NFL but Goodell granted him that right and the Eagles decided that it was a good football move… like it or not, his second chance is going to be as an NFL player and I pray that he’ll be an advocate for change. He should be monitored and graded based on his progress as an activist as much as he is as a football player…

  24. Bruce

    August 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    P.E.T.A. members are making up signs and getting organized for a trip to Philly. (chuckles)

  25. Jeff

    August 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Please dont compare what Myers did. Yes what Myers did was horrible. Vick had thousands of dogs killed. Are you kidding me. He is a horrible human being. Playing in the pros is a privledge and he should not be allowed back. My wife and thousands of fans will no longer be fans. This will be bigger then you think. Just wish these dogs could drowned him. Scum bag. The Eagles as a franchise just went down the tubes. Plus you will never win with that fat ass coaching. THE G MEN.

  26. Jeff

    August 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I also hope Utley’s protest. Jennifer cant be to happy about this. This is a monster for what he did. Lets turn the cheek because this scum can run.

  27. Bruce

    August 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    There’s rumors of a conspiracy within the Eagles organization on the Vick’s signing being a marketing ploy to draw attention away from the Phillies. (chuckles)

  28. Chuck

    August 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Why so much hatred Jeff…??

    Is it really necessary to call Andy Reid a “fat ass”???

    I’m so glad YOU’RE perfect….what’s your secret??

  29. Jeff

    August 14, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Andy Reid is a joke.

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