Cleveland 3, New York 0. Box Score
Just dirty. That’s all he was in win number six of his season. He was in trouble, he got out of it. He struck Yankees out, but never walked them. Folks, Cliff Lee is back in a big way. The title of this post is a reference to a Citizen Cope song titled Brother Lee. Well Tribe fans, our Brother Lee is dealing, and shows no signs of stopping. Tonight was one of those games when you looked at it, didn’t seem all too promising for Lee. He was going against a Yankee team that had just lost in dramatic fashion the night before, and were now throwing their ace against an inconsistent Cleveland offense. The deck was stacked, and Cliff Lee cut the cards. Plain and simple.
More on the Indians 16th win of the season, after the jump.
This season so far for Lee is just this side of improbable, even more so tonight when you see what he was able to accomplish. Seven innings, six hits, zero walks, eight strikeouts. Two of the seven hits were infield singles. I don’t care who is in the lineup for New York, when you have this kind of line against the Yankees, it should count as two wins. In the fifth and six innings, Lee gave up two hits, including the games lone extra base hit, a double to Shelley Duncan. After the Yankees had two base runners in both of those innings, the next batter struck out. Lee knew what he had to do and when he had to do it. He is now 6-0, with a– say it with me now– zero point eight one (0.81) earned run average. Here’s the most interesting fact coming out of this game: because Lee allowed 6 of 27 Yankees to reach base, batters improved their OBP against him. Just sick. Lee’s next scheduled start is Monday night at home against Toronto.
Now, to the bats. It really says something about an offense that has been struggling this season to go out, rub two sticks together and get a run for their hottest pitcher in the first inning. As an Indians fan, you had to be happy about that. Indians had seven hits total, all singles. Victor Martinez 15 game hitting streak was snapped. Ben Francisco and Jhonny Peralta had two hits apiece. The biggest happening at the plate for the Tribe was a hit that didn’t happen.
In the top of the ninth with one out and the bases loaded, Eric Wedge decided to pinch hit for Andy Marte. Up to the plate comes Pronk, with about the least amount of pressure a major league hitter could ever face: your team is up three with just a half inning to play, against a team that cannot figure out your team’s hurlers. Bases loaded, one out… Hafner grounds into a double play. With just one swing, Travis Hafner left as many guys on base as David Dellucci did in four at bats. There’s not much more you can say about the slump that he is in, except for it might not be a “slump” anymore. Please, Pronk, come back to us. But, a win is a win, and when Cliff Lee pitches, a win is turning in to a sure thing. Believe me, I am the person most surprised that I wrote that sentence.
Tomorrow: The Indians playing their final game in the old Yankee stadium tomorrow, a 1:05 start. Last year’s playoff Yankee killer Paul Byrd (1-2, 3.74) will be matching up against Mike Mussina (4-3, 4.23).