While you were somewhat upset about the way the ping-pong balls fell for the Sixers last night (if you’re a Sixers fan), then perhaps you were unaware of what was going on across the way. Cliff Lee was hitting the DL with an elbow strain. This is a major blow, no matter how you spin it.
Sure, it could have been bad enough to require Tommy John surgery, but it’s far more mild than that. Although that bullet has been dodged, there are several reasons why this is a killer.
One, the Phillies have to find someone to fill in that rotation spot every fifth day. Equaling, or even coming close to, the production Lee gives you is absolutely impossible. If he misses a month, that means up to six starts without their best pitcher. And those are possibly wins they can’t afford to lose.
Two, the Phillies are going through a very tough stretch on the schedule where they have just two days off between now and the All-Star break in July. Their health has not been an issue to this point and now is no time for that to start.
Three, the Phillies could possibly lose some trade value on Lee if this lingers past a month or so. My co-host on 97.5 the Fanatic, Jayson Stark, told me that Cliff Lee is still thought of highly around the league by scouts and decision makers. A blemish on an otherwise clean resume, especially at this point in his career at age 35, will no doubt decrease the return in which the Phillies would hope to receive.
So, sure, the alternative would have been devastating. However, this ain’t that good either.