Every once in a while, you take a minute to think about former players. Sometimes, it’s guys who have been with the team for a long time or had a lot of big moments. Other times, it’s just who was a flash in the pan or were only around for a little bit. The ladder is where I am looking today as I want to take a trip down memory lane to re-visit the Cliff Lee experience for the Mariners.
It’s a bit crazy because it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that Cliff Lee was on the Mariners. Would you believe me if I said that he was on the team before Kyle Seager? Cause that was the case. Cliff Lee’s lone season on the Mariners was all the way back in 2010.
Cliff Lee had an incredible short stint in Seattle with the Mariners
I’m going to start off by talking about the most amazing part of Cliff Lee’s time when he was in Seattle. If you are familiar with Cliff Lee at all, you know that he had incredible control. He threw 103.2 innings for the Mariners over 13 starts. You wanna take a minute to take a guess at how many people he walked during that time?
Go ahead, think about it.
He only walked people in 5 of his 13 starts for the Mariners, with two walks over eight innings against the Angels in his least accurate start for the team. Just think about that for a minute. There were eight starts totaling 62.2 innings where he didn’t walk a player. Even more impressive, he threw 9, 7, 9, and 9 innings in four straight starts, giving up six runs with zero walks.
There are so many things about that run that would be unexpected and unfamiliar to those who have recently become fans of baseball. There were three players in all of baseball this season that threw three complete games. Cliff Lee did that in 17 DAYS!
Are you kidding me? Cliff Lee wasn’t just a control master, but he would go deep into games also. If you think “oh, that was just a short stretch of him going deep into games” you would be more incorrect than the people who think Lebron is the GOAT.
8 – 8 – 9 – 7 – 9 – 9 – 9 – 8 – 9 – 9 – 8.1 – 9 – 8 – 8.
That means that over 14 games, he averaged 8.42 innings per game. He averaged over 8-1/3 per game. Think about how much a guy like that would mean to a team in the present day. He would be the number one pitcher in baseball. The Mariners had that guy back in 2010, and they traded him that July for a whole lot of nothing and Justin Smoak.
Cliff Lee in 2010 likely had one of the best stints ever by a Mariner. However, back then the team just wasn’t going to spend a boatload of money to re-sign him. He would sign for 5-120 that upcoming offseason, something that the Mariners just weren’t going to do.
What’s sad, is that before the 2010 season, there were people out there that were actually picking the Mariners as a dark horse to make it to the World Series. Instead, the team would put together their 4th worst season of all time. If not for the amazing seasons start from Cliff Lee, it would’ve been worse… so at least there is that.
Anyway, for those of us who got to see Cliff Lee pitch with the Mariners, it was a special experience. For those that didn’t, there is a little chance that George Kirby could be the next in line of pitchers in the majors with special control. Go Mariners!