A Tale of two Lees: Game 1 Preview for 2009
Location: Arlington TX
Time 205 EDT
It was July 21, 2007 in Arlington, Texas. A dark day for Cliff Phifer Lee. He beaned then Texas Ranger, Sammy Sosa in the head on a night when Sosa was being honored for hitting his 600th home run. This led to an altercation between catcher Victor Martinez and Cliff on the mound during the game and also led to a players’ only meeting after the game. His final line for the game was 7 runs given up, all earned along with 8 hits in 6.2 innings pitched with one walk and five strikeouts. The Indians went on to lose 8-5. Less than a week later after another terrible performance, Lee would be sent to Triple-A Buffalo and only be called up September 1st only to have four calls out of the bullpen, and not as a starter. From July 6 to July 26, 2007, Cliff was in the midst of a stretch prior to Buffalo that had him at 0-4 with an 11.70 ERA. In 2006, Cliff was an 18 game winner. There were some after outings like this that were calling for Cliff to be traded, one year after being one of the best.
2008, a season of dreams for Cliff Lee as it would be for any other major league starting pitcher and a treat for all Cleveland Indians’ fans as Mr. Lee earned a Cy Young award. In one outing last year, Cliff had similar numbers giving up 6 runs, all earned along with 9 hits, walking 2 and striking out 8. Very similar numbers. Face it, its Texas! Nothing looks like a pitching duel here. Yet, with this outing he won 15-9 and was headed to be the Cy Young Award winner that year.
Now the ace of the Indians’ staff for 2009, and coming off a spring training that had him 0-3 with a 12.70 ERA similar to his stats shown above in July 2007. Yes there will be runs scored. The question will lie in the fact if we can match the Rangers in a slug fest whether or not, we can match enough support to help Lee come out with the victory. Also, one might ask will we see signs of the 22-3 “Cy Young” Lee of 2008 or rather the 5-8 Lee of 2007 who was almost traded?
The lineups are out there for all to see. Now all we need is to “Play Ball!” And we will at 2:05 EDT tomorrow, Monday April 6th, 2009, FINALLY! In order for the Indians to win, I believe the offense must keep us in this ball game because as history has shown, runs will be given up by Lee in this ballpark. It will be interesting how our lineup responds to match the Rangers’ offensive juggernaut led by Josh Hamilton. Good luck to Cliff and the rest of the team as they face Kevin Millwood and the rest of the Rangers. I can’t wait!