When Cliff Lee pitched 10 innings of shutout ball against the San Francisco Giants last April 18 and saw his team lose, the Philadelphia Phillies’ left-hander ran into a night of bad luck. He probably didn’t know then that it would turn into a season of bad luck in which he won just six games, lost nine, and put together a strange season that proves to us how much we need to look past pitcher wins in the box score.
That said, Lee is praying that 2013 will be a tad different. Finishing a season 6-9 with a 3.16 ERA, Lee got 3.6 runs per game of support, which was tenth worst in the Major Leagues. He didn’t even pick up his first win until July 4. However, Lee still had a solid season, finishing with 211 innings pitched, 207 strikeouts, and just 28 walks. He was not as sharp as he was in 2011, but finishing the year with a 3-2 record and 1.46 ERA in his final seven starts of 2012 was a positive sign after a few ups and downs in the middle part of the year.
Felix Hernandez’s 2010 Cy Young Award was a step forward for baseball as a whole, as he went 13-12 in that season on the way to winning that hardware. Many believed that someone with a record right around .500 would never win a Cy Young, but it happened. Looking past wins is something that is still hard for many to do, but in Lee’s case, looking past the win/loss column in 2012 was a necessity to understanding his season. But for his own sake, he’s hoping for a little more run support in 2013.