Lee’s Value to Phillies Can Be Measured in Zeroes

From SABR member Sean Forman at NYTimes.com on September 9, 2011:

Cliff Lee, the left-handed Philadelphia Phillies starter, is on quite a tear. In August he was 5-0 with a 0.45 earned run average in 39 2/3 innings. And it was not even his best month this season: in June he was also 5-0, with three shutouts and a 0.21 E.R.A. in 42 innings.

On Aug. 31 he pitched eight and two-thirds scoreless innings against Cincinnati, but was pulled for closer Ryan Madson after he allowed a two-out double to Joey Votto, walked Jay Bruce and hit Miguel Cairo to load the bases. In his first September start, on Monday, he was able to get the game’s final out, completing a five-hit shutout of Atlanta, his sixth shutout of the season. He matched Randy Johnson’s six in 1998 as the most since 1989.

Lee’s total of six complete-game shutouts leads the National League and is four ahead of the second closest pitchers, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals, and two ahead of any other team’s total in the National League. A four-shutout lead is the biggest lead since 1988 when Roger Clemens led the American League with eight shutouts, four ahead of Greg Swindell, Dave Stieb and Mark Gubicza. Lee is the second pitcher to have three times as many shutouts as a second-place pitcher. In 2007 Brandon Webb’s three shutouts led the league and 13 other pitchers finished with one.

Read the full article here: http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/keeping-score-lees-value-to-phillies-can-be-measured-in-zeros/

Originally published: September 12, 2011. Last Updated: September 12, 2011.