The Philadelphia Phillies are 1-0 after a by-the-skin-of-their-teeth win over the Houston Astros yesterday. Tonight, in what is sure to be a chilly one in the City of Brotherly Love, the Phillies send offseason reacquisition Cliff Lee to the mound for the first time since the 2009 World Series against the New York Yankees.
If the city was abuzz yesterday in anticipation for Roy Halladay's Opening Day start, Philadelphia is positively ready to explode with excitement at seeing Lee on the mound again—a proposition that seemed simply impossible just a few short months ago.
The city came to love Halladay during his 2010 National League Cy Young campaign—a year in which he threw a perfect game during the regular season and a no-hitter in the postseason. But this is also the city that was lukewarm towards Halladay initially, because his arrival was juxtaposed against the departure of Lee.
As we look back on the season Lee spent away from the Phils—which he began with the lowly Seattle Mariners before joining the Texas Rangers and riding them all the way back to the World Series—we note something that is, at first blush, interesting. But upon further investigation, it is revealed to be historic.
And it is today's Philadelphia Phillies Daily Fun Fact:
In 2010, Cliff Lee pitched 212.1 innings for Seattle and Texas. In those 212.1 innings, he walked a shockingly low 18 batters while allowing 16 home runs. What's more, two of his bases on balls were intentional passes, which means he allowed the same number of unintentional walks as he did home runs.
Since 1901, only five pitchers have managed to pitch 200 or more innings, allow fewer than 20 unintentional walks and 20 home runs: Babe Adams (1920), Red Lucas (1933), Bob Tewksbury (1993), Greg Maddux (1997) and Lee.
And of those five pitchers, Lee was the only one to not give up more walks than home runs.