Despite suffering a 6-1 loss in his first game as a Texas Ranger, starting pitcher Cliff Lee brings Ron Washington’s team an inning-eater that will not only allow the Rangers to win the American League West, but also remain a serious contender throughout the 2010 MLB Postseason.
Lee’s loss to the Orioles was only his fourth of the season, and he entered the All Star Break with an 8-4 record and a 2.67 ERA. Lee was able to bounce back from his disappointing first start as a Texas Ranger with a perfectly pitched inning of work in the 2010 All Star Game, including a strikeout.
Cliff Lee’s return to form after disappointments and distractions are nothing new. Lee began his Major League Baseball career in 2002 with the Cleveland Indians. Cliff started at least 32 games for the Tribe from 2004-2006. In 2007, the Indians sent Lee to their then-Triple A club the Buffalo Bisons due to poor performances during the season. He was even left off of the Tribe’s postseason roster.
This was a low point in Cliff Lee’s career, with Cleveland baseball “insiders” claiming that Indians personnel believed Lee was either not intelligent enough or too stubborn to make adjustments to his delivery. No wonder the Indians organization has been in disarray.
Not only did Lee return to the Cleveland Indians starting rotation in 2008, he posted 22 victories and won the American League Cy Young Award. With the Indians being out of contention due to the unloading of players, including fellow Cy Young Award winner C. C. Sabathia, Lee was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.
Lee continued to dominate, posting a 7-4 record for the National League champion Phillies and was a spotless 4-0 in five starts during the 2009 MLB Postseason. Despite undergoing yet another change, returning to the American League as a Seattle Mariner at the start of the 2010 season, Lee adjusted without problem, going 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA.
Cliff Lee has proven time after time that he can adjust to new situations and overcome prior difficulties to continue to perform as one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Nolan Ryan’s Texas Rangers have sealed their entry into the 2010 Postseason by acquiring Lee from the Seattle Mariners. In addition to a high winning percentage and low ERA, Cliff Lee has proven repeatedly he can pitch deep into a game, posting six complete games and pitching 112 innings so far this season.
Criticized early on for their use of the slogan “It’s Time”, the Texas Rangers have made it their time by acquiring Cliff Lee. Now “It’s Cliff’s Time”.
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