Texans Misunderestimate Lee

Tim Cowlishaw, who writes for the Dallas Observer and appears in the abortion that is Around the Horn, wrote an article downplaying Cliff Lee's importance to the Texas Rangers.

I don't think anyone watching Lee would say he's had an awful month. But his ERA in August is 4.50 — 15 earned runs in 30 innings. I am betting a lot of you didn't think it was nearly that high, given how proficient Lee is at striking out batters and at walking almost no one.


The article essentially goes like this:

Cliff Lee will get frustrated with the poor fielding and leave for a larger market.

But his ERA isn't that good and he gives up a lot of hits.

So he's not that important anyway and the Rangers are still good.

Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.  Despite the fact that it looks like a third grader wrote those sentences, they accurately summarize Cowlishaw's elementary article.  He's arguing that the Rangers are still a good team without Lee (agree), and that losing him this off-season wouldn't be that big of a loss.  Disagree.

He does this by using the smallest of all sample sizes.  He took a two week span (what, 3 starts?) and pointed to Lee's 4.50 ERA over that time period.  That's not exactly awful either- he went through a similar stretch last August.  Cowlishaw then noted that the Rangers are 3-5 in Lee's starts and 14-9 in other games, since he joined the team.  The Rangers have scored three runs or less in 5 of his 8 starts.

That won't keep Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg from doing everything he can to keep Lee in a Texas uniform for the next five or six years. And he should. But it is a reminder that this team was a very good first-place club before he arrived and it can continue to compete if Lee does make the decision to go elsewhere this winter.


It's like that scene in Old School where Luke Wilson discovers that Craig Kilborn is cheating on the chick from Grey's Anatomy.  He's angered that someone could do that to such a precious gem.

Cliff Lee is Ellen Pompeo.

He is one of the best pitchers in the game.  Last year, he turned in one of the best post-season performances ever.  And it took a city like Philadelphia, a winning city, a half a year and two Roys to get over losing him.

Come spend a few days in June 2010 Philadelphia and tell me he's not that valuable.


Thanks to reader Dan Bello for sending this along.

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16 Responses

  1. i concur. around the horn is pretty awful. abortion-like even. PTI is much better. get to the point with some opinion. IMO.

  2. Good article, one thing though. The ” And it took a city like Philadelphia, a winning city, a half a year and two Roys to get over losing him.” line, that is FAR from the truth, people still won’t get over him, the “bring back Cliff Lee” is still large and healthy.

  3. I think it’ll take a little while longer for everyone to fully get over Cliff Lee. This offseason, no matter how financially unfeasible it is to bring him back, you’ll be seeing mobs of people beating on Rube’s door, pleading him to find a way to bring him back.
    A 2011 rotation of Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt/Lee/Kendrick (trade Blanton to free up some salary?) is almost seizure inducing.
    It’ll come down to where Cliff wants to go, and it doesn’t sound like he wants to be in Texas. It DOES, however, sound that he loved Philly and would come back in a heartbeat if the chance ever arose.
    It’s OK to dream, isn’t it?

  4. Someone once commented on this blog (maybe it was Kyle Scott I’m not sure) “The signing of Roy Oswalt is Ruben Amaro admitting he made a mistake in letting Cliff Lee leave Philadelphia.”
    That is the absolute dumbest thing to say. Oswalt was signed with over half the games played. Amaro thought he had a great rotation with Halladay, Hamels, Moyer, Blanton, & Happ. You have the benefit of hindsight making a comment like that. If Amaro knew the team’s inconsistency in June & July, he would have kept Lee.

  5. agreed you have the benefit of hindsight, but it’s a way of admitting a mistake. letting go of cliff lee was a mistake. hindsight or not. that’s all i was saying. getting halladay and letting go of lee didn’t make the rotation any better. you swapped and ace for an ace.

  6. Over Cliff Lee? Speak for yourself.
    It’s still not too late to put together a formidable Lee-Harry-Oswalt combination. Hamels is your number 4 and Cheeseburger Joe or Kyle Kendrick a’s your number 5? Sounds great to me.

  7. “misunderestimate” is NOT a word.
    yet you have the balls to mock other people’s statements, claiming it appears that speak on a third grade level.
    atleast they don’t make words up.

  8. Really? The Bush reference was too smart for someone? Or we should just understand that Bush jokes are really old and hacky now.
    The last three comments are “turrible.”

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