Archives For Cliff Lee

Photo credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are in mid-season form– squandering golden-streamed opportunities because they can’t hit.

In front of 23,382, Lee pitched nine innings and struck out 13 while scattering 11 hits, one walk and one run. He threw 85 of his career-high 128 pitches for strikes. He left a steaming pile of pissed excellence on the mound. He took the loss. It’s the second time in five starts, dating back to his final start of the season last year, that he struck out 13 Braves and lost 1-0.

Here’s Lee on being sent back out for the ninth even though he was over 100 pitches:

“I felt strong on the last pitch and I felt strong on the first pitch,” Lee said. “That’s what you want to do, you want to be a guy that they’re going to let go back out there after you’ve thrown 100-plus pitches and pitch the ninth inning. That’s what I expect to do and I’m glad they allow me to do that. That’s what I work in the offseason for and prepare my body to do, so it’s not anything that’s that crazy to me.”

Love that quote. Lee and Chase Utley might be the only two baseball players on the team right now.

And indeed Lee was as strong on the last pitch as he was the first. From Brooks Baseball:

Voila_Capture 2014-04-17_08-48-16_AMFastballs in the low 90s, breaking pitches in the mid 70s, all night long, like a Lionel Richie song. His consistency and precision, also excellent:

Voila_Capture 2014-04-17_08-49-33_AM

Look at the fade on his two-seam fastballs (sinkers) and changeups. A one-foot tail on those babies.

It used to be fun to write about Lee’s brilliance is melodramatic prose, to wax mythical about our favorite steed. But no longer. I don’t even think anyone cares. Did anyone watch? If there’s a two and a half hour pitchers’ duel in a freezing ballpark in April and no one is there to see it, does it really happen?

The Phils managed a whopping [breaks out calculator] three hits – all singles – against Julio Teheran, who also pitched quite well. Awesome.

Voila_Capture 2014-02-24_08-06-26_AMPoor Cliff. First it’s bloggers and pissing ponies, and now this.

Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com was in Clearwater to do a piece on the Phillies’ pitching staff yesterday and he came away with one incredibly strange (awesome?!) tidbit:

Voila_Capture 2014-02-24_08-13-21_AM

YUM.

As a slightly over-the-top Cliff Lee admirer, I have to say I respect the effort here. Like many pitchers, Lee can often be spotted grooming himself in the dugout. Fingernails are either a pitcher’s best friend or his worst enemy (depending on if cheating is your thing). So we’ll assume there’s some meaning here besides someone just wanting their DNA to spill out all over Lee when he opened the letter in a random state of undress in the clubhouse.  Perhaps this is just a nice little tip of the cap to Lee’s nervous energy on game days. Or maybe someone thinks he scuffs balls. I’m sure we’ll find out more soon.

Related: There’s no truth to the rumor that Jonathan Papelbon received a human asshole in the mail.

We like to have fun here

We like to have fun here

Let’s take a journey back to the land of mythical men and mice, where ponies run freely upon a field of Riviera Bermuda Grass and, at least one particular steed’s preferred pasture of grazing, dirt. Because it was on this night, last night, that our favorite gallant warrior, with whom we’ve checked up on very little this calendar year, pissed a frothy mass of excellence so epic that, if for just a moment, we forgot that his chosen pack, comprised of dilapidated misfits and aging wonders, is 70-80 and so far from playoff contention that the cool, crisp air of approaching autumn has long lost its ability to cradle excitement.

Yes, folks, Cliff Lee was excellent last night, and I haven’t written a silly lede like that in what feels like forever.

If you missed the game – which, let’s be honest, you probably did - you’ll be thrilled to learn that the best pitcher in the National League was TOTALLY OUF OF HIS MIND. Here, I’ve separated pitching and batting because, really, I can’t tell which is a better line:

Batting

3-4 with two singles, a triple, four RBIs and a run scored

Pitching

8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 14 K, 0 BB

That’s all swell and good, but the real important bit of tid from last night is this, courtesy of Todd Zolecki:

It looked like his day even hours before the game. Nearly every teammate walked around the clubhouse beforehand with T-shirts that had a picture of Lee’s face and the phrase “… but I’m different,” written underneath it.

“I think that’s just a joke and they’re messing with me,” Lee said. “Whatever.”

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, one of the most popular and respected players in the clubhouse, came up with the T-shirts.

“Cliff is that guy, he’s cool, you know?” Ruiz said. “It’s something we try to do in the clubhouse to have fun.”

!!!

Carlos Ruiz made Cliff Lee an ironic t-shirt to which Lee responded with his trademarked whateverIF THE PHILLIES ARE STILL FUN AND NO ONE IS THERE TO SEE IT, ARE THEY STILL FUN?

Last night they were. Last night they were fun.

Full video highlights of Lee drowning the fish in a golden stream of his difference… after the jump. Continue Reading…

Cliff_lee_fallThe Phillies won last night. That’s cool. And Cliff Lee totally ate it during the celebration.

Video of the walk-off after the jump.

H/T to Philliedelphia

Continue Reading…

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 7.57.39 AMThis is the calm before the storm. 24 hours from now, a trail of scorched earth motherfucker might line the path to and fro the Phillies’ dugout. Anyone can be traded. Cliff Lee is the flavor of the hour, and bow tie man himself, little baby Ken Rosenthal, says the Red Sox should trade their top prospect, Xander Bogaerts, for him:

The Sox boast the sixth-best farm system in the majors, according to Baseball America. They’re in a dogfight with the Rays and Orioles in the AL East. Lee, 34, could prove the difference in that race, and potentially in the postseason as well.

Because, according to sources, the Red Sox are the team most active in discussions with the Phillies heading toward the non-waiver deadline at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Of course such a trade would be painful for Boston; Bogaerts, 20, indeed looks like the real thing. The Sox, in fact, regard him perhaps even more highly than they did Ramirez in Nov. 2005. Ramirez, even in his youth, sparked makeup questions. Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, speaks four languages, “lights up a room,” according to Farrell.

The kid is wonderful. The kids are always wonderful. But winning a World Series is wonderful, too – yes, even more wonderful than rising to the top of Baseball America’s organizational talent rankings.

The Sox won’t do it. They should.

Yep. He wrote an entire column based on something he doesn’t think will happen. Welcome to the world of forced content thanks to corporate overlords who demand advertising revenue, a model perfected by CSN.

Rosenthal’s opinion is in direct contrast with what Mike Salk of WEEI (Boston) thinks. He said the Red Sox should call up Bogaerts:

That said, the Sox need an offensive spark, and Bogaerts could provide it.

At age 20, Bogaerts is ahead of the curve. According to Baseball America, he was the top prospect in the organization coming into the season, and he’s done nothing to dishonor that distinction. After crushing Double-A pitching at Portland (to the tune of a .909 OPS with six home runs in 56 games), he has torn up Triple-A well. He’s hit eight home runs for the PawSox in just 40 games, while getting on base at a .377 clip.

“He has a short swing that can handle fastballs inside,” explained a clearly impressed Ryan Rowland-Smith, his Pawtucket teammate who has spent parts of four seasons pitching in the majors. “Most good major league hitters can hit that inside heater, whereas the majority of Triple-A guys get jammed or roll over on it. Bogaerts stays inside that pitch and can hammer it.”

I just came reading Bogaerts’ AA OPS. I don’t think the Phillies should trade Lee if they believe they have any chance of competing between now and 2015 (which is totally possible). But getting a top-flight – near can’t miss – prospect like Bogaerts (can we call him HUMPHREY?!)  should be the only reason they’d even consider it.

For what it’s worth, Charlie Manuel told 94 WIP today: “I think [Lee's] here [at 4 tomorrow].”

UPDATE: As Rosenthal said, the Red Sox appear unwilling to trade Bogaerts. From John Tomase of the Boston Herald:

The odds of Cliff Lee joining the Red Sox remain remote, but the viability of any potential deal has come down to this – whether the Phillies or Red Sox will blink over Xander Bogaerts.

Industry sources familiar with the thinking of both teams make it clear that even if it’s a longshot, there’s theoretically a deal to be made that will bring the All-Star left-hander to Boston, but it will require concessions on both sides that are currently proving too much of an impediment.

P p p p p oker face.

UPDATE 2:

Lee_kidBow-tie man himself, little Ken Rosenthal:

Actually, Lee hasn’t been traded during the season since 2010. Chances are, he will not be traded before the non-waiver deadline at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday. But the Phillies are discussing their All-Star left-hander with other clubs, according to major league sources, creating the possibility of another Lee blockbuster.

One rival executive on Sunday night acknowledged the Phillies’ willingness to trade Lee but said the team would do it only “for a lot!!!” — meaning, a steep package of talent.

Rosenthal then went on to list all the reasons why Lee probably won’t be traded: his contract, time constraints before the deadline, the Phils can afford Lee, his stiff neck, and – my favorite – Ruben Amaro’s inability to sell, which produced this line from a rival executive:

“Ruben has always been a buyer,” one rival executive said. “He doesn’t know how to sell.”

Cue he doesn’t know how to haggle clip.

I still think trading Lee would be foolish, for all the reasons here.

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 8.59.44 PMSure, why not? Tweets are after the jump. Use the first image and right here to create your own. Tag it #leememe and I’ll add it. Continue Reading…


Whatever.

via (@JFeitelberg)