Cliff Lee Shouldn’t Be “Frustrated” [AUDIO]
After a night like that, you'd figure Cliff Lee earned hisself a John Rocker moment. Lash out at reporters? Splinter a bat over your knee? Double-arm bar (insert inept Phillies hitter that couldn't get him a win in the Phils 2-1 loss to the Dodgers Tuesday, despite Lee's 7.2-inning gem, which, yeah, made for his second such shafting of the season)? Whatever works. Would've been within bounds.
But Lee, the easy-living Arkansas farm boy he is, is way too classy for that. (#SouthernGentlemanSwag.) When asked about it, Lee ginned and let slip an awkward chuckle, brushing aside a blow-up op with the same grace and charm and endearment with which he fanned 12 freaking Dodgers. And still lost. Dammit.
Said Lee: "I'm not really frustrated, I'm not. Like I said, all I can do is throw pitches. I don't set goals, I gotta have this many wins, or whatever. I just wanna put up as many zeroes as I can, go deep in the game, throw strikes, don't walk guys, give the team a chance to win. That's all I can do, that's all I'm gonna try to do. Would I like to have a better record, or like to have had some wins. But what can I do about that?"
Unfortunately -- especially for the pitching-heavy Phils, for reasons you'll understand in a sec -- chalk it up as the industry standard, life as a big-league ace. Because if you peep the records of the last three Cy Young winners for each league since 2009 in starts in which they've gotten 3 runs of support or fewer (including 2012 starts), you'll find that Lee's story has been the same woeful narrative for the rest of his top-shelf pitching peers.
|Career Records Of Past 3 Cy Young Winners -- 3 Runs Of Support Or Fewer|
|2011||AL||JUSTIN VERLANDER||15||24||39||2011||Clayton Kershaw||18||28||46|
|2010||AL||FELIX HERNANDEZ||17||34||51||2010||Roy Halladay||16||29||45|
|2009||AL||ZACK GREINKE||15||32||47||2009||Tim Lincecum||20||33||53|
Yeah. Basically identical marks, indicative of a siesta of sorts within the sport every time a top pitcher takes the mound. Little variance, between opportunities (the range of such starts for our sorrowful subset is 39-53) and surrounding talent. But none enough to skew the data significantly.
For record: Cliff Lee (the 2008 AL Cy Young winner) is 16-34 on his career in such games. Cole Hamels is 17-33.
No, no -- I know what you're thinking: Tough life that's going to be for the Phils, who built the team with these arms as 2x4s.
Also worth noting: these findings kind of make Hamels resilience under these conditions something to behold. Or pay a ton of money for at season's end.