Thursday, July 26, 2007

Will The Real Cliff Lee Stand Up?

Tonight, much maligned left-hander Cliff Lee makes a critical start for the Indians. Since suffering an oblique muscle pull during spring training, he has been a mostly ineffective pitcher as he quite often shows his frustration. However, after giving up an insurmountable number of runs early on lately, he has settled down as if to be a different pitcher for the rest of the game.
Cleveland needs a victory and a strong start from Lee tonight…from the first inning on.
But, what if he gets into trouble again early?
Eric Wedge cannot allow Cliff Lee to experiment and settle down, especially with the anemic offensive output of the last three games. The Indians have scored three runs in their last 26 innings and have managed to win a game despite this lack of output. During these three games vs. Boston, the Indians have batted .157 and have left 16 runners on base. If Lee gets into trouble early, he needs to get out of there early. The team apparently cannot overcome the Red Sox running up a score while Lee tinkers physically and emotionally.
Here is hoping that Lee can return to his winning form tonight and continue to be the successful pitcher that he is more than capable of being.

C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona have pitched brilliantly in games 2 and 3 of this four game series vs. Boston. The defense has been excellent as well, keeping the Red Sox in check and allowing these pitchers to work out of trouble.
However, another concerning statistic bears out a problem that has been visually apparent during this series, as well as through the season. In the past 3 games, the Indians have struck out 23 times while walking only 6 times. At an 80-20 percent fail rate, they are unsuccessful at protecting the plate with 2 strikes. The object in taking pitchers deep into a count is to get the pitch you want to hit, but lately many Indians hitters are swinging at a head-high ball four or watching a close pitch called for strike 3. Fix this, and fix the .157 average vs. Boston!
Let’s take game 4, split the series, and stay on the “Indians’ Summer” plan to win the division!

No comments: