Coming off his DL stint for an abdominal strain, Cliff Lee did not disappoint in his first start for the Ms. In fact he didn’t even allow a run. He threw 98 pitches in 7 innings, recording 8 strikeouts, ZERO walks, and just three hits (all singles).
Lee was in control just about his entire start. He got ahead in the count often–throwing 19 first-pitch strikes to the 25 batters he faced–and worked just one three-ball count. His success has always come from his control. Since 2008, Lee has walked just 4.1% of the batters he’s faced, better than half the league average of 8.6%. His groundball rate has also improved after a nightmarish 2007 campaign, leading to less dingers and more double plays.