Cliff Lee's Dominance Continues as Phillies Top Braves

Cliff Lee extended his dominant stretch last night, blanking the Atlanta Braves for a 5 hit shutout.  Lee was backed by plenty of offensive support, as the Phillies hammered Atlanta 9-0 in their series opener.

Lee has been simply ridiculous over the past month.  Over 5 August starts, Lee maintained a minuscule ERA of 0.45, allowing only 2 earned runs on 23 hits in his 39.2 innings pitched.  Over that span, Lee struck out 39 batters while only walking 8.

Big surprise, Lee won all 5 of those starts.

It marked the second month Lee had posted an ERA below 0.50.  He was actually more lights-out in June, when he held the opposition to a single run over 42 frames, good for a 0.21 ERA.

Lee then came crashing back down to Earth in July, as he was hit hard.  That month, Lee was lit up for an earned run average of 4.91.

So, after his awesome August, some speculated that Lee could again be in store for a rocky September.  Lee appears to have silenced any of that talk with last night’s effort.

Lee induced his second highest groundball total of the season (15) while striking out 6 batters and issuing zero free passes.  All 5 of the hits Lee gave up were singles.

With last night’s victory, Lee has now won 7 straight starts, giving him 16 wins on the year.  This is the same as NL Cy Young favorite Roy Halladay and one less than contender Clayton Kershaw.

While he’s still probably trailing the duo in most of the voter’s eyes, Lee has certainly made up some ground in a hurry.

Lee has logged more innings and struck out more batters than Halladay and his ERA is a touch lower.  Halladay still owns a much better FIP (2.12) compared to Lee’s (2.64) and it isn’t close in the WAR department either (Halladay – 7.4, Lee – 5.9).

Kershaw has 2 more innings pitched than Lee, but also has made one more start.  Lee walks fewer batters, Kershaw strikes out more.  Kershaw’s ERA (2.45) is lower, but Lee has the better xFIP (2.76 vs. Kershaw’s 2.81).  Kershaw also has a leg up in WAR, but again, Lee’s started one less game.

For more on the Phillies, be sure to check out That Balls Outta Here.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Clayton Kershaw Cliff Lee Cy Young Award LA Dodgers MLB NL Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay

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