Cliff Lee’s Impressive Mariners Debut

Cliff Lee’s Seattle debut has come to a close and while he won’t get the win due to the joyless Mariners offense and some sound pitching by breakthrough candidate Colby Lewis, Lee’s start was nothing short of spectacular.

The biggest thing that stuck out from Lee’s performance was his command. Of Lee’s 98 pitches, 73 went for strikes. It wasn’t just the number of strikes, but it was the number of high quality strikes. He got ahead on good pitches and stayed ahead on good pitches.

The second thing was his velocity. Lee came in firing his fastball at his typical 92 MPH, and it stuck with that zip into the 7th inning and as he approached 100 pitches.

He also appeared to have his off-speed pitches working. He got a number of outs with his change and curve, including strikeouts deep in at bats, which contributed greatly to his 8 strikeouts. Lee also displayed his cutter, a pitch he began throwing much more frequently in 2009.

His final line: 7 innings, 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs, 8 strikeouts, 98 pitches

I think most of us expected Cliff Lee to return to this form eventually, but to do it in his first start following injury and against a lineup like the Rangers was very impressive. He had his entire arsenal working and spotless command throughout the game. His debut was well worth the wait.

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