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Invisible Touch: Cliff Lee Owns the Marlins, Sets Some Cool Stat Benchmarks

Sep 16, 2013, 10:41 PM EDT

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies

That Cliff Lee is a badass is nothing new, that the Marlins are a terrible team is even un-newer. But tonight’s performance from the Pfife Dog was nonetheless impressive by any standards, and did well to remind us that despite Cliff Lee’s questionable status as a gargantuan-salaried pitcher on a sub-.500 team, we’re pretty fortunate as a fanbase any time we get to watch this guy take the mound for us.

In eight innings of work tonight, Cliff Lee struck out 14 batters–a season-high, and the most he’s struck out in a game for the Phillies since 2011, when he K’d a ridiculous 16 batters in seven innings (though he also let up three runs in a 3-0 loss to the Braves, overshadowing his impressive accomplishments some). He gave up a couple runs on eight hits (with no walks), but given that the Phils had already put seven on the board by the Marlins’ first time across the plate, it was imminently forgivable. (The Phils would win 12-2, thanks to multi-run homers by Utley and Ruf and a whole bunch of other fun miscellaneous offense.)

Anyway, the 14 K’s on the night gives Cliff a total of 201 for the season, which marks the third straight year he’s cleared the 200 mark for the Fightins. Clayton Kershaw is the only other NL pitcher to have K’d 200 each of the last three years, and certainly something now other Phils pitcher has done this century. (Think you might have to go back to Lefty in the mid-’70s to find the last Phillies example, but someone with a paid B-R account is gonna have to double-check me on that.)

That was only half the story for Cliff last night, though. Our nine-hole hitter also went 3-4 at the plate, with a triple–his first in 292 career PAs–and four RBIs. Courtesy of ESPN Stats comes these delightfully obscure pieces of statistical ephemera:

Well. Any night you can match an historic outing by an Oscar-winning singer/drummer at the plate is a night to remember, indeed. Thanks for keeping it real in the face of all fakeness, Clifton. Hope you’re still on the team next year.


  1. Kevin - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    No B-R paid account needed for those ‘Lefty’ stats, ’72, ’73, ’74 he had 310, 223, and 240 K’s respectively.

    • Andrew Unterberger - Sep 17, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      Well, I didn’t need confirmation that Carlton had achieved the feat, but rather that no other Phillie besides Lee had done it since.

      • Paul - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:32 AM

        I just wasted a good 20 minutes to determine Carlton was the last Phillie to do this. the closest any other Phillie came was: Curt Schilling who had two straight 300 K seasons in 1997 and 1998 but fell way short of 200 in 1999 due to injury, Cole Hamels came up 6 shy in 2011 from making this season possibly his 4th straight season with 200 Ks, and Roy Halladay had over 200 Ks for the Phillies in 2010 and 2011 before being stopped by injuries in 2012. Halladay actually had 4 straight seasons of 200 Ks from 2008 til 2011, but 2008 and 2009 obviously do not count as he was a Blue Jay those years.

  2. r0tcod - Sep 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Check out 1:08-1:12 Chooch gets hit in the huevos. Nice grimace afterwards.

  3. BenE. - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    It’s performances like Cliff’s last night that keep baseball fun to watch during a bad season. Hell of a night.


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