It is not surprising when a star pitcher tosses eight shutout innings and strikes out ten batters. On the other hand, when a star pitcher hits a solo home run, it is surprising… and awesome!
On July 9, Cliff Lee hit his first career home run, but the Phillies fell short to the Atlanta Braves. A month later, Lee single-handedly beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lee fanned ten over eight scoreless innings, but that was not his biggest highlight. As a batter, Lee got ahead in the count, 2-0. The next pitch hung right over the middle of the plate, and Lee made Ted Lilly pay. Lee took a pretty swing and the baseball landed in the right field bleachers. Lee rounded the bases and gave his team an insurance run.
After the game, Phillies Nation commenter Mazinman wrote: “There is something just so uplifting about the look Cliff had as he came towards the dugout after his home run. That was not the look of an ace pitcher but that of a little kid who just did something great and was about to celebrate with his friends. Halladay is a machine, the post child of consistency, but no one is more fun to watch pitch that Cliff Lee.”
Lee’s home run proved to be the difference as Ryan Madson allowed a run in the ninth inning.
What can’t Lee do? Not only did he go his job on the mound, but he was impressive at the plate. Like so many times throughout 2011, Lee did his job… and more.