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MLB Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies’ Cliff Lee 2014 NL Cy Young Award Contender

Cliff Lee

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Cliff Lee has become one of the most dominating starting pitchers in MLB. Since he begun his second stint with the Philadelphia Phillies, Lee has dominated batters with pinpoint accuracy. In 2013, Lee finished the last two months of the season pitching as well as anybody in the league. During August and September he pitched 78 innings with 14 earned runs, 91 strikeouts, 10 walks and 69 hits posting a 1.62 ERA. Lee was able to end 2013 with one of the strongest stretches in his career. He finished his year stronger than National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who finished the last two months of the 2013 season with 67.2 innings pitched with 13 earned runs, 71 strikeouts, 17 walks, 54 hits and a 1.74 ERA.  Lee also exceeded American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer over the same two months. During this period, Scherzer pitched 70.2 innings with 21 earned runs, 76 strikeouts, 25 walks, 51 hits and a 2.69 ERA

Last season Lee was able to strike out 222 batters while only throwing his four-seam fastball (90.4 mph) and change-up (84 mph) 16 percent of the time. Lee mainly threw a two-seam fastball 38.4 percent of the time, averaging around 90.7 mph. His second most used pitch was his cut fastball which he threw 20.3 percent of the time, averaging around 86.8 mph. Lee was really in the zone during 2013 and was extremely accurate. If this performance is repeated in 2014, Lee will definitely be in the contention for a Cy Young Award.

Every year Lee is projected to have 20 wins, but he never attains it. This is not his fault and the blame is solely on the Phillies’ lack of offense the past couple of seasons. However, I see him getting 15 to 17 wins in 2014 and a repeat of his 2011 performance with less walks and wins. Lee will be a good performer for the Phillies in 2014 regardless of how the rest of the team produces.

Jake Edinger is a Philadelphia Phillies writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jake_edinger,  add him to your circle on Google, or connect with him on Linkedin.