Cliff Lee deserves this start to his 2013 season.
He has two of the Phillies three wins.
While fellow starters Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay have a combined ERA of 12.50 and are a combined 0-4, Lee is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.08. He has yet to allow a walk and has 14 strikeouts.
Last year Lee did not get his second win until July 31st.
And it wasn’t because he didn’t pitch well. It was a shameful lack of run support. The Phillies only scored three runs for Lee in his first three starts. This year, they’ve scored 10 runs for him in his first two outings.
So no one deserves the runs and the wins more than Lee.
Except maybe the fans. In a season where pretty much nothing has gone right, Lee stands as the only starting pitcher getting the job done. But according to Michael Young, who had another three hits last night, Lee is more than a pitcher.
“I’ve always loved playing with Cliff. Basically he’s a baseball player who pitches. He loves to compete. It’s a lot of fun to play with guys like that.”
Hmmmm. Fun. Lee looks like he’s having fun when he plays the game. He smiles; he jogs off the mound; and he loves to hit. He singled home a run in the second inning last night to keep a rally going.
Think back to the night before with Roy Halladay on the hill. Forget all the talk about his arm slot and his velocity and his control. Is he having any fun? Even Halladay said later that he has to remember that baseball is just a game.
No, it’s simplistic to say that having more fun will make everything all right for Halladay or this Phillies team.
But as Cliff Lee demonstrated again last night:
it couldn’t hurt.