October 19, 2009

Local hero.

I said the Philadelphia Phillies would need terrific starting pitching to win the 2009 National League Championship Series.

Well, Pedro Martinez came through. And Cole Hamels didn't.

But somehow I forgot, or neglected to mention, or just plain failed to give the necessary credit to one Cliff Lee. And that's just plain wrong.

Cliff Lee struck out 10 batters in Game 3 of the NLCS. Cliff Lee is 2-0 in the 2009 postseason with a 0.74 ERA. Cliff Lee even stole a base last week.

Simply put, when discussing the heroes of the playoffs thus far, it's necessary to mention Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz. It's downright criminal to disregard the record-breaking Ryan Howard.

But, more than anyone else, make sure you pay homage to Cliff Lee.

Cole Hamels was the love child of the 2008 postseason, and his numbers were worse than what The General has been dealing. Not worse meaning "bad", but worse because, frankly, its almost inconceivable to pitch better.

With luck, we won't see him again until the World Series. Randy Wolf seems like a poor matchup for the Phillies tonight, but then again, so did Hiroki Kuroda. And we DEFINITELY won't see Kuroda-san again this year.

The series should be 3-0. Instead, it's 2-1. A sweep in the Championship Series is almost too much to ask for, anyway. But it's becoming apparent to everyone (hopefully, even the Dodgers themselves) that a divide exists between these two teams. One looks like they're championship-caliber. The other one, not so much.

And that divide exists in part, was created, was forged out of sixty feet, six inches and five pitches by Clifton Phifer Lee.

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