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Before the pundits point at Lee's 2-4 record and 3.84 ERA, let me ease the minds of Philadelphia fans with one statistic.
Cliff Lee leads Major League Baseball with a 10.43 K/9 innings. He has 68 Ks in just 58 innings. He has been victimized by the long ball in the early going, but there is no denying that Lee's "stuff" is as good as ever.
One-third of the hitters that Lee has faced this season have struck out. We all know Lee is a top-10 pitcher in the game, and when the postseason comes around, there is no one better. Has he been as strong as the other aces on this team? Probably not, but the Phillies have provided him with such little offense that memories of Cole Hamels' 2010 run support are entering my mind.
We have learned that the national media is trying its hardest to convince Philly Nation that it was a mistake signing Cliff Lee and not bringing back Jayson Werth. While I have been disgusted with the Phillies offense this season (past 20 games in particular), we need to remember that the Phillies are still in first place. They are still the class of the NL East.
Chase Utley will be back, and even if he is not an "everyday player" like Ruben Amaro said, his presence in the lineup will undoubtedly make a big difference. A lineup with Rollins, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Victorino and possibly Dom Brown seems much more potent than one without Utley. We will once again have speed at the bottom of our lineup with Victorino, and don't be surprised if John Mayberry seriously challenges Raul for platoon duty in left field.
We now have four pitchers who all have postseason experience. They have had dominating postseason performances. Each one of the four aces has the potential to shut out an opposing offense at any moment.
Cliff Lee is as good as it gets when it comes to hurling postseason masterpieces.
Lee is 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA in the playoffs. He has a 10.0 K/9 ratio in those games with a .82 WHIP. Bringing back Lee was the right move. Having a top-10 pitcher in the game locked up for the next five years was the right move.
Final thing for the National League to chew on: We have Cliff Lee and you don't.