For any professional hitter, going 3-for-4 with a triple and four runs batted in is a heck of a night. It’s an unforgettable night if you’re a pitcher. Prior to last night’s game against the Marlins, only three Phillies had logged three hits and four RBI in a game this season: Delmon Young, Ryan Howard, and Domonic Brown, all in June. Brown was the only one to also triple. Starter Cliff Lee joined the club last night with an RBI single in the third, a two-run triple in the fifth, and another RBI single in the seventh. The only Phillies pitchers with three hits and four RBI in one game previously were Phil Collins in 1930 and Jack Scott in 1927. Lower the threshold to three RBI and Randy Wolf was the only pitcher with three hits and three RBI dating all the way back to 1977.
On the mound, Lee was just as good. In eight innings, he allowed just two runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out 14. It is the ninth 14-strikeout game of the season, joining Yu Darvish (5), Chris Sale, Jose Fernandez, and Anibal Sanchez. Darvish is the only one to accomplish the feat without walking a batter (twice). Lee’s outing last night was just the 26th 14-strikeout, zero-walk performance in the 2000’s. Halladay struck out 14 twice in 2011 and Lee struck out 16 while walking one that season as well. Only three Phillies have struck out 14 while also issuing no walks: Curt Schilling in 1997, Terry Mulholland in 1993, and Jim Bunning in 1966.
Only pitchers with at least 14 Ks and 4 RBIs in game since 1916… Cliff Lee and Dwight Gooden. According to MLB
— John Clark NBC10 (@johnclarknbc10) September 17, 2013
As several people pointed out to me on Twitter last night, Lee’s outing lowered his ERA a couple points to 2.95 and actually puts him somewhere in the NL Cy Young discussion. Certainly not anywhere near Clayton Kershaw, but near the top-five.
To quote Larry David, last night, Lee was pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.