Cliff Lee entered Sunday’s afternoon showdown with the Chicago Cubs boasting an 11-6 record this season, and a record of 4-0 in six starts vs. the Cubbies.
Unfortunately for Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies, he was unable to add a win to that column, as Lee was pulled after five innings and relief pitcher Zach Miner gave up a HR to Starlin Castro.
Castro’s HR and the Cubs’ victory was not the story of the game, however, as it was Lee’s ineffectiveness to throw strikes and throw them consistently.
Before Lee got pulled, his total number of pitches was 113 through five innings, walking three men. Lee has been notoriously known for throwing too many strikes at times, so today’s game was obviously a mystery.
Manager Ryne Sandberg was reported saying, “He just seemed a little out of sync the whole start, throwing a lot of pitches, missing just off the plate. He’s a guy that usually pitches ahead in the count and goes after it and pounds the zone.”
Lee, was also baffled, saying the game was strange how he was unable to locate his pitches and get calls from the umpire.
In any event, Lee was oddly labored today. The reasons are numerous, as it could’ve been the heat, fatigue or just an off day. If this happens again, though, the Phillies would be wise to check into the problem to make sure Lee does no harm as the Phils enter the offseason and eventually their 2014 campaign.