From MLB’s Press Release…
In five June starts, the 2011 National League All-Star was a perfect 5-0 with a Major League-best 0.21 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. Lee led the N.L. in wins, ranked third in innings pitched (42.0) and was sixth in strikeouts (29). The left-hander tossed complete-game shutouts in three consecutive outings, becoming the first Major Leaguer to earn three straight shutouts since Brandon Webb in 2007 and the first Phillie since Robin Roberts accomplished the feat in 1950.
In other words: Cliff Lee was really, really good, and it wasn’t really even close. Of pitchers who had at least 40 innings pitched, Lee was far and away the leader in ERA, and was an entire run lower than his teammate, Cole Hamels, who finished the month with an ERA just over 1.00.
Every time Lee took the mound in June, it was almost a foregone conclusion that he was going to take care of business. Even the close games weren’t really that close when Lee was on the hill.
It hasn’t always been such smooth sailing for the lefty, who was sporting a very so-so 3.94 ERA though his first 12 starts of the season. At times, he looked like the Ace who was brought on board to compliment Roy Halladay, Hamels and Roy Oswalt, and at others, he looked like the pitcher who was demoted to the minors one season before winning his Cy Young in 2008.
Since going on his June tear, he managed to lower his ERA to below 3.00, joining teammates and fellow Aces Halladay and Hamels in the sub-3.00 ERA club.
Despite the fact that he was knocked around in his last start in Toronto, where the Blue Jays put an end to his consecutive scoreless inning streak, Lee is, by far, still amongst the best pitchers in the National League, and finds himself in the top ten in the National League in ERA, WAR, wins, WHIP, BB/9, K/9, innings pitched, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts.
Published at 9:10 AM EDT on Jul 6, 2011 | Updated at 11:37 PM EDT on Jul 6, 2011