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article imageOp-Ed: Cliff Lee is a Freak of Nature

By Oliver VanDervoort     May 7, 2008 in Sports
Lost in the mediocre start to the season that the Indians have given their fans is the insanely good start by Cliff Lee. This is the same Lee who bouncing between the major and minor leagues, for a team trying to make the playoffs.
It appears whatever Lee figured out in the minors has stuck, as he's already equaled his win total of a year ago, a managed a microscopic 0.96 ERA. Lee, who is considered a crafty veteran, despite the fact that he is only 28, thanks to the fact that he made the major leagues at a very young age, and joining the rotation full time in 2004. He won 14 games for the Tribe that year, and followed that up with 18 wins in his second full season. However Lee started to regress, going just 14-11 in 2006, and managed just a 5-8 record with a 6.29 ERA in 20 starts last year. Lee is 5-0 this season, meaning he has accounted for a third of his team's 15 wins in the early going.
But it's not his record, or his ERA that makes Cliff Lee a freak of nature. In 37.2 innings pitched spanning 5 starts, all going over 6 innings, Lee has walked exactly 2 batters. Let me lay this out there again. He isn't averaging a meager 2 walks per outing, as that would be plenty impressive in today's game alone. But for the entire season, Lee has walked two batters. He's now gone two starts in a row without issuing a single base on balls.
If Lee continues to pitch like this, not only are the Tribe a serious contender for the playoffs, but he's a serious contender for the Cy Young award.
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