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Who Do You Want Now? Lee or Halladay?

Cliff Lee can really hit. Oh yeah, he can pitch too! Since joining the Phillies at the trade deadline, Lee has been outstanding. The Phillies wanted an ace; they got a whole deck of cards.

Lee’s earned run average with the Phillies is almost non-existent: 0.82. His batting average is .385 (5-for-13, 2 doubles) with the Phillies, and .278 on the season.  Who needs a DH?

The reigning American League Cy Young winner has come a long way. He had very high ERAs in 2004 (5.43) and 2007 (6.29). Last year, he won 22 games while posting a 2.54 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. In his first 2009 appearance, the Texas Rangers rocked him for seven earned runs in five innings. Lee bounced back, recording a 3.14 ERA with Cleveland.

Ruben Amaro Jr. did an excellent job of acquiring Lee without surrendering a boatload of prospects. If the Phillies obtained Roy Halladay, they would risk losing some of their future. Both are terrific, but Halladay is the better overall pitcher. However, guess who has been better since the Lee deal?

Remaining in Toronto, Halladay has given up 14 earned runs in 37 innings since July 29. On the other hand, Lee has given up three earned runs in 33 innings.  Lee and Halladay each have five complete games this season. Lee has pitched at least seven inning in all four starts with the Phillies, and in his last eight starts overall.  In 26 starts, he pitched less than six innings three times (23 quality starts).

Lee is 11-9, winning seven consecutive outings. He has a 2.72 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and opponents are hitting .259 against him.  With Cleveland, he gave up 9.8 H/9 and 2 BB/9. With the Phillies, he has been able to minimize the hits and walks.  His K/9 went from 6.34 with Cleveland to 9.27 with Philadelphia. 

He receives a standing ovation every time he steps to the plate or finishes an inning, and deservedly so.  Quickly becoming a fan favorite, Lee is tailor made for Phillies fans. He wants to win. Perhaps overlooked by his stellar performance, Lee hustled out a single, busting as hard as he could down the line– on a ball that almost rolled foul.  When Steve Carlton pitched, he proclaimed it was “Win Day.” When Cliff Lee pitches, I think we should start calling it “Win Day” as well.

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