Cliff Lee: Cy Young Favorite?

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Since pitching his Major League record tying sixth shutout of the season on Monday night, Philadelphia pitcher Cliff Lee has gone from a NL Cy Young hopefully to a full-fledged favorite. Lee’s 2011 numbers are fantastic but he does not lead the National League in any major pitching categories, besides shutouts. The Lefty’s 2.47 ERA is third, his 1.07 WHIP is third, his 5.10 Strikeout to Walk ratio is second and his 16 wins and 21 Quality starts are both tied for third amongst NL starting pitchers.

So what has propelled Lee to the top of the NL CY Young discussion? His amazing months of June and August. Check out Lee’s numbers by the month.

ERs Allowed (Blue), Strikeouts (Orange) & Walks (Green)

In June and August Lee won all ten of his starts and had an unbelievable .33 ERA. While Lee’s rough months of May (2-3, 3.78 ERA) and July (1-2, 4.91 ERA) provide evidence for his detractors, his ability to consistently bounce back from adversity gives further credence to Lee’s claim for the top pitching honor.

Lee has only allowed two Earned Runs since August 1st. If he continues this nearly unprecedented dominance over the last three weeks of the season will he pass perennial front runners, Roy Halladay and Clayton Kershaw, and collect his second Cy Young Award?

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