Some Fun Trivia on Cliff Lee’s Start vs. Braves

Cliff Lee was at times awe-inspiring and at other times frustrating in his start against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night. But by the end of the night, he had struck out 13 and walked one en route to a complete game effort in which he took the tough-luck 1-0 loss. Opposing starter Julio Teheran was a bit more effective, scattering three singles over nine innings, as the 23-year-old earned his first career shutout.

It wasn’t the first time we’ve seen Lee take home the tough-luck loss — it brought back memories of the time when Lee shut out the San Francisco Giants over 10 innings but got the no-decision when Matt Cain blanked the Phillies over nine, and then Antonio Bastardo gave up a walk-off RBI single.

In fact, it was the fifth time in his career that Lee pitched a complete game and still got the loss. It was the second time he had done so while allowing one run, matched in his last start against the Braves on September 27, 2013 (coincidentally, he also struck out 13). There’s plenty more trivia:

Lee controversially took the mound for the start of the ninth inning, having already thrown 114 pitches. But the Phillies’ bullpen hasn’t been very good to start the season, so manager Ryne Sandberg may have been reticent to go to the ‘pen when Lee was pitching well. However, one could argue that any of the Phillies’ relievers would have been a safer bet than Lee in his fourth trip through the Braves’ batting order.

At the conclusion of the top of the ninth, Lee sat at 128 pitches. It marked just the second time in his career that he had thrown 125 or more in a start, the other occurring on June 22, 2011 against the Cardinals. 128 pitches is the current high pitch count in the early going, and was equaled or surpassed by only five pitchers last season, as Corey Seidman notes: Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Anibal Sanchez, Tim Lincecum, and Adam Wainwright. They all won. The last pitcher to throw 128-plus pitches in a loss was Ryan Dempster, then a Cub, on September 13, 2011 against the Reds. This is perhaps the most staggering piece of trivia, however:

While Wednesday night’s game didn’t end happily, it was at least interesting for most of the game, like it was on Monday. We’ll see if the Phillies’ offense can wake up again as A.J. Burnett opposes Alex Wood this afternoon. After the game, the Phillies will fly out to Colorado for a three-game set with the Rockies.

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5 comments

  1. Dan R

    April 17, 2014 09:24 AM

    Cliff is pitching great but I can’t help notice how unlucky he’s been on batted balls so far this year. After last night he now got a 50.6% GB rate but a .432 BABIP to go along with it!

  2. Mark66

    April 17, 2014 06:24 PM

    I noticed 2 really big things during the last 2 games, one we won and one they won. Two great pitched games and barely 25,000 fans show up. Is the front office taking notice ? I also said I could not believe Nix hitting for Ache. Nix now .150 and Ache now .184 Great trade picking up Nix.

      • Mark66

        April 17, 2014 06:55 PM

        At the major league level that depth you assumed could hit more than .200, otherwise you could bring someone up from AAA or AA for a game or two. A bad small cash deal.

  3. Mark66

    April 30, 2014 12:05 PM

    Up and down, that seems to be the way of this pitching staff. Hamels was terrible Tues nite vs the Mets. Why did Sandberg leave him in so long ?? It was like Sandberg sacrificed the game, why–all you do is fall further down in the division. Nix for Asche again bad decision==Nix is now hitting .161. Let Asche hit his way out or make a trade. This platoon at 3B isn’t working. Attendance is falling more and more. The way the Phils are playing and with the front office not caring by the end of the year the Phils should avg about 10,000 bodies in the stands.

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