By Josh Kramer
119 wins. Three All-Star Game appearances. One Cy Young Award. Those were the key numbers in Cliff Lee’s outstanding career heading into play yesterday. Cliff Lee had appeared in 13 games heading into play on Independence Day. Guess how many wins he had obtained?
Try a big goose egg. Yes, Cliff Lee had zero wins in July of a season in which he did not suffer a severe injury (had a minor hiccup at the end of April). Had Lee failed to secure a victory yesterday, he would have tied former Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux’s dubious 2008 streak of 14 straight starts without a win. Talk about living up to every penny of that five-year 115 million dollar contract.
Despite striking out 89 batters in 89 innings and putting up a somewhat respectable (in this day and age) 4.13 ERA, Cliff Lee had zero wins in 2012. This is the same guy who had an ERA below three heading into play on June 10th. A guy who went ten innings on April 10th and lost (1 to 0). A guy who has only gone less than six innings on just one occasion all season And the same guy who had never gone more than three starts without a victory to start a season since becoming a full-time starter in 2004. Talk about rotten luck. Can a guy get a a little run support?
Well maybe Cliff Lee’s luck finally turned around on our nation’s birthday. On Wednesday, Lee baffled one of the League’s elite offenses, and went eight strong to help the Phillies lock down a much-needed victory. One and five may feel like an awful record, but at least it’s better than zero and five.
Win number 120 was one small step for the Phillies, but one giant leap for Cliff Lee. Congrats to Mr. Lee on locking in his first victory of 2012. It’s about time.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.