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Cliff Lee delivers third consecutive complete game shutout

Jun 28, 2011, 10:05 PM EDT

Phillies starting pitcher Lee delivers a pitch to the Dodgers during the second inning of their National League MLB baseball game in Philadelphia

Many hyped this week’s interleague series between the Red Sox and Phillies as a potential World Series matchup. And frankly, it’s tough to argue. But tonight was all about Cliff Lee.

Lee just finished off his third straight complete game shutout as part of a 5-0 win. He held the Red Sox to just two hits while fanning five and walking two. The southpaw is the first Phillies’ pitcher to throw three consecutive shutouts since Robin Roberts in 1950.

Lee actually hasn’t allowed a run over his last 32 innings dating back to June 11, which represents a new career-best. He has allowed just one run over five starts in June, good enough for a ridiculous 0.21 ERA over 42 innings. His ERA has dropped from 3.94 to 2.66 in the process. That’s absurd.

As Jayson Stark of ESPN.com notes, no pitcher has thrown four straight complete game shutouts since Orel Hershiser had five in a row in 1988. Lee will try to keep the streak alive Sunday against the Blue Jays.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    I just saw a graphic on ESPN with the take home message that Cliff Lee has had the greatest month by a pitcher in over 20 years. Amazing, just amazing. Lets not forget to mention the contributions of young Dom Brown tonight. Good night for the kid.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:25 PM

      Lemme guess – best since Hershiser in September ’88?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:35 PM

        Something like that. There was some other equally stellar performances around that time as well.

    • halladaysbicepts - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:31 PM

      Good Doctor,

      What a game tonight! Cliff Lee had no-hit stuff tonight. I have nothing else to say except…

      CLIFF LEE….CLIFF LEE….CLIFF LEE, CLIFF LEE, CLIFF LEE, CLIFF LEE!!!!!!!

      Stinkin’ BoSox, Vance Worley will be the next to deliver you some medicine.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:53 PM

        After tonights game, Josh Beckett the asswipe looked like he needs an enema after what the Phillies and Cliff Lee did to him.

      • Ari Collins - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:13 AM

        Stay classy, bicepts. And may your next vacation come soon.

    • mox19380 - Jun 29, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      best 1 month outings in history per the ‘almight Elias’
      •Guy Bush in August 1926 (6-0, 0.19 ERA)
      •Fernando Valenzuela in April 1981 (5-0, 0.20)
      •Nolan Ryan in May 1984 (5-0, 0.20)
      •Mike Witt in August 1986 (5-0, 0.21)
      •Orel Hershiser in September 1988 (5-0, 0.00)
      •Cory Lidle in August 2002 (5-0, 0.20

      Lee – July 2011 – 5-0; .21 ERA

      • Ari Collins - Jun 29, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        You mean June 2011.

        But those are neat stats, thanks.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 29, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      I’ll quote myself from yesterday afternoon:

      “Lee has allowed one earned run in June. No pitcher has been better than Lee in June. For what it’s worth, I predict Lee will dominate again tonight and the Phils will win. Beckett will be an afterthought to Lee’s dominant evening.”

      I’ll be rubbing my balls all over this quote for the remainder of the day.

  2. Old Gator - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    Lee is just ridiculous. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to watch this game.

  3. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    I wonder if any Sahx fans will comment on this :-)

    • frankvzappa - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:30 PM

      Go directly to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:56 PM

        I believe that answers it. Let it be known I would have put the same comment up if the Sahx had won. I would have just changed Sahx to Phils.

    • sneschalmers - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:13 PM

      Hah I live with a die hard Sox fan and the only things he commented on as we watched the highlights were:
      1) He read an article about how bad Oswalt’s back is doing and how Oswalt isn’t able to do pretty much anything right now.
      2) He read an article from a “very reliable Boston insider” saying that Beckett is pitching injured and that he’s at about 60% right now.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        I feel like Beckett’s been pitching injured ever since he left Florida.

    • jwbiii - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:31 AM

      Red Sox fan here. I recently read an article that said Cliff Lee was overrated because he was mediocre until he was 29, was 4-6 down the stretch for Texas last year, and his postseason excellence has caused the press to overrate him.

      As I read it, my thoughts were that he’s been awfully darn good since he was 29, no comment, and postseason excellence may be overrated, but it’s a really good thing.

      Well played game today, sir.

      Also, he likes to do tourist type things on days when he pitches on the road, like visit at the Met before pitching in the Bronx. I find this awesome and I really like the idea that there are baseball players with whom I could discuss something other than baseball.

      • sportsdrenched - Jun 29, 2011 at 10:28 AM

        There are things other than baseball?

        (j/k)

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        If wins is a main argument, your argument isn’t strong enough.

        My pet peeve is people going so strongly with wins as a central stat that proves how excellent a pitcher is. Wins are mostly circumstantial.

        He’s been great since 2008, and has a few more good years ahead of him. It’s been as fun as ever to watch him lately.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Cliff Lee is doing us some good after all. Kudos!

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 29, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      Yeah, I’m a big Phillies fan for the next two days. Woo Hoo! On another note, the Red Sox are a completely different team without Big Cheater in the lineup. Sox fans better hope that his supplier doesn’t get clipped and dime him out. They’ll be in trouble if he has to sit out 50 games.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 29, 2011 at 10:10 AM

        Yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing the Fat Load fall all over himself tonight at 1st base as the Phillies left-handed hitters pull line-drive after line-drive past his unmovable fat ass.

        I just hope he doesn’t break his syringe in his back pocket and hurt himself.

  5. chadjones27 - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Between him and Sabathia, the Yankees are unstoppable… oh wait

    • Kevin S. - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:34 PM

      Alright, even I have to give this a +1.

      • kiwicricket - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:02 PM

        Second

  6. yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    Love the Sux post game, TC is about to have a breakdown and is practically in tears because Papi can’t get in the game.

    Get the sweep Philly

  7. toosoxy - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    I truly believe the Sox just have issues with the letter P. Padres. Pirates. Phillies.
    That’s the problem, right there.

    • halladaysbicepts - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:48 PM

      Also, “P” as in the word Punk aka Josh Beckett. He’s an asswipe and looked like he was going to punch things in the dugout and cry after Cliff Lee hit the sacrifice fly off him.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 29, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        Beckett is a Class-A D-Bag. I’m surprised he didn’t start throwing at the batters like he usually does when he gets knocked around.

  8. Phillies Homer - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Cliff Lee is… uhh… pretty good.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:01 PM

      Yeah…keep an eye on this guy—he might amount to something.

  9. Utley's Hair - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    And, yet again, Cliffy drives in the only run he would need—though this time, he was joined by a Flyin’ Hawaiian and Dom Brown.

  10. screename529 - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    Boston is the best 2nd place team in the history of baseball!

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    I was at tonight’s masterpiece by Clifton Pfifer Lee and I just have to say a couple things.

    First, the atmosphere at Citizen’s Bank Park was incredible. It felt like a World Series game in the ballpark just walking around an hour before the game.

    Second, in all fairness to the Sawx, they only had 4 professional hitters in the lineup tonight. Once Lee got past Youk, it was McDonald, Tek, Cameron, and Scutaro…then Beckett. Those 5 guys, well, err, BLOW. No other way to say it.

    Third, the Domonator was awesome. That bomb he hit against Beckett was just a thing of beauty. What made it even better was the douchenozzle Sawx fan behind me, who said to his smoking hot girlfriend with the utley pink jersey “Don’t walk this bumb…he’s hitting .208…throw a strike because he can’t hit it” Next pitch…boom goes the dynamite. I normally don’t do much to opposing fans, but even I had to look at this guy and just smile. Before that hit, he was clapping for every freaking ball that Lee threw. Yeah, he was that guy. Thanks again to the Domonator for shutting this beantown loser up.

    I predict Worley gets bombed tomorrow and then Carlton shuts down the Sawx Thursday and the teams split the next two games.

    • halladaysbicepts - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:26 PM

      Great game, Chris. Glad you were there to see some Cliff Lee magic. I’m listening to fan reactions on WIP right now.

      4 professional hitters? The Sox could have had 9 pro hitters in that lineup and would have not done shit against Lee.

      Have faith in Worley. Sox look like they may choke this series.

      • thomas2727 - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:42 PM

        Easy Phillies fans. It is June after all.

        I saw some Cliff Lee magic at Game 1 of the World Series last year. It was the funnest night I ever spent at a ballpark.

        Hey what does Josh Beckett have that Cliff Lee does not have? A freaking World Series Ring.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:58 PM

        Thomas, I don’t share the disdain for Beckett as my fellow Phillies fans. His performance in game 6 of the 2003 series is still to this day, considering the moment and the environment, the second greatest game pitched that I have ever seen(the first is Pedro’s 1999 ALCS game 5 performance). I love Beckett and you could tell he was not himself tonight. Obviously, he was still feeling the effects of being sick.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:32 PM

      I don’t think the Bus gets lit up tomorrow. I think he gets roughed up a little, but if he can minimize the damage (after all, he will be facing both Gonzo and Papi), the bats will stay with the Sawx and give the Phightins a chance to win it. If he doesn’t bring the game we all know he has, just wait for King Cole on Thursday afternoon.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:44 PM

        Oh I have no doubts that the Phillies will win Thursday. Everyone has Lester has a “winner” and he does have the same record as Carlton…but Cole has an ERA 1.5 runs better. The offense has sucked the last couple times Cole took the mound, but I think they will hit Lester for some crazy reason. And I think Lackey will actually pitch well tomorrow. Don’t know why I think this as it makes no sense. Probably just because it makes no sense.

        I know Worley won’t make it past the 4th because the Sawx are too patient and Worley relies on guys swinging at bad pitches. Gonzalez will probably hit two bombs.

        By the way, doesn’t Gonzalez look like Dante from Clerks? Some guy kept yelling “I’m not even supposed to be here today” whenever he came up and I thought, Yeah, he kinda looks a little like Dante.

    • cleverbob - Jun 29, 2011 at 8:31 AM

      annnnd… boom goes the dynamite.

  12. Ari Collins - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Great game, even if my team was on the losing side. At a certain point, it became obvious the Sox were up against an Unstoppable Force and were, themselves, an entirely Movable Object. When a guy pitches two complete game shutouts and then shuts your team out, you just gotta tip your cap.

  13. xmatt0926x - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Everyone may be counting out Worley tommorow but remember that the Sox are throwing that stiff Lackey out there. Talk about overhyped when he was a free agent. He’s just ok at best and pitches a “solid” game here and there. He gets called a bulldog because his dumb facial expressions make it seem like he’s battling out there when in reality he’s just sweating through another barely above-average game. The Phils might get tommorows game after all.

  14. xmatt0926x - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Not trying to flame the Redsox. I just never understood what people saw in Lackey. You would have thought they signed Drysdale when they got him.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 29, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      I’m pretty sure they saw a pitcher coming off of two good and three excellent seasons.

  15. Jonny 5 - Jun 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    Cliff Lee has generated more runs than he’s allowed this month. Should we be saying his ERA in June is negative yet, since he earned those runs he allowed back, and then some?

  16. phillydano - Jun 29, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    Lots of hype over this series right now. Its fun and all dont get me wrong, but the world series preview thing is a bit of a stretch. There may have been an little bit of extra energy in the air last night at the Bank but it still felt like a regular summer night game to me. The park is packed every night. Some people are saying the atmosphere was like a playoff game. Huh? Have you ever been to a playoff game at the Bank? Thats a-whole-nother level.

    Way to go Cliff Lee! Completely outstanding month of June, and thats an understatement.

    And a great bounce back game for the kid last night!

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