Congratulations to Cliff Lee for yet another sterling performance again last night. Oh, and it wasn't just about pitching this time. It appears maturity and selfishness played a major part in the spectacle that cost the Indians their 40th loss of the season and put them to 2 back of Detroit.
Cliff Lee got into immediate hot water in the first inning by allowing the first 3 batters he faced to hit safely. Then it just got worse. By the end of the inning, with Jason Stanford being hurried in the bullpen, Lee left the mound with a 5-0 deficit.
However, manager Eric Wedge's kumbaya approach to letting Cliffy "find himself" at the expense of 5 runs turned Lee's performance around as he went 6 more scoreless innings. But the turnaround was not as easy or painless as it might have been. As the Indians began to climb back into the game, Lee continued to struggle with control, culminating into an embarrassing situation.
It was Sammy Sosa Day at Arlington Stadium and a great tribute was paid to Sammy by the Rangers organization, as well as the fans and many dignitaries. The pre-game parade and festivities were highlighted by Cliff slamming Sammy squarely in the batting helmet in the 3rd inning. Sammy went to the ground, regained his senses, but then left the game for precautionary reasons. Of course, no one believes that the HBP was anything other than an unintentional loss of control but when things went bad for Cliff, they went bad.
So bad that he and catcher Victor Martinez had an obvious disagreement on the field as well as in the dugout. Eric Wedge could be seen talking to each separately in the top of the 4th inning as the Indians batted. It was at this point that the camera caught Lee in an expression of attitude. All of this culminated into a loss and a 27 minute closed team meeting after the game. This was not the first altercation between Lee and Martinez as they had issues in Kansas City one day last year.
It will be very interesting to see what takes place between now and Lee's next start.
Lee has recently publicly apologized for poor pitching to date this season. Perhaps he needs to address his attitude, selfishness, and maturity coming before the team in his next apology.