MLB Notebook: Lee reaching new heights on hill

MLB Notebook: Lee reaching new heights on hill

MLB Notebook: Lee reaching new heights on hill
When Cliff Lee won the American League Cy Young Award in 2008, he finished the season with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.00 that went down as the third best in the league. Since that season and through Monday's games, Lee's ratio of 5.81 K's for every walk is the best for any Major League pitcher with at least 500 innings.

Since the start of '08, Lee has a total of 18 games in which he has struck out at least 10 while allowing no more than one walk (the most in the Majors). So it seems perfectly appropriate that on Monday, Lee was the author of a high-strikeout, low-walk performance that sits as a milestone for this season.

Lee improved to 6-7, allowing one run in eight innings, with 10 strikeouts and a walk.

With the strikeout and walk totals, that line marked the 92nd time this season a pitcher reached double digits in K's with no more than one walk. Those 92 are the most in any season since baseball expanded to 30 teams in 1998. 2012 had been tied at 91 with the 2011 season. Overall, the 2012 season owns a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.47, which is currently the best in the modern era.

1901-2011: Fewest Wins for Starter Qualifying for ERA Title, Min. 120 ERA+
Pitcher Year W-L ERA ERA+
N. Garvin 1904 5-16 1.72 160
B. Burns 1908 6-11 1.70 134
J. Magrane 1988 5-9 2.18 161
J. DeLeon 1991 5-9 2.71 136
A. Ashby 1994 6-11 3.40 122
J. Hamilton 1995 6-9 3.08 132

The game marked the 22nd double-digit strikeout game of Lee's career, and the 18th time he has reached at least 10 K's while issuing no more than one walk. Those 18 are fourth most for any left-handed pitcher since 1918. Randy Johnson leads with 79, followed by Johan Santana (31) and Sandy Koufax (29).

Lee owns a 3.27 ERA and 123 ERA+ in 190 innings, to go along with his 6-7 record. From 1901-2011, there were 1,899 pitchers who made at least 75 percent of their appearances as a starter, qualified for the ERA title and finished the season with an ERA+ of at least 120. Of that group, six finished the season with no more than six wins.

• Kevin Correia (seven innings, two hits) and two relievers combined on a two-hit shutout as the Pirates defeated the Cubs, 3-0. The team shutout was the 10th of the season for Pittsburgh -- the second straight year the club has had at least 10 (it had 11 in 2011). The last time the Pirates authored back-to-back seasons with at least 10 team shutouts was 2005-06, when they had 14 and 10.

• The Mets' R.A. Dickey fanned eight in seven innings to raise his strikeout total for the season to 205.

Dickey, who is one strikeout shy of tying Clayton Kershaw for the National League lead, is the 10th pitcher in Mets history to reach 200 K's in a season. He joins Tom Seaver (nine seasons with 200-plus K's), Dwight Gooden (four), David Cone (four), Jon Matlack (one), Jerry Koosman (one), Sid Fernandez (one), Al Leiter (one), Pedro Martinez (one) and Johan Santana (one).

1983-2012: Most wins in starts with 1/0 Strikeouts
Games Pitcher(s)
35 Kirk Rueter
30 Tom Glavine
24 J. Moyer, K. Rogers
22 Bill Gullickson
21 Bob Tewksbury
20 Greg Maddux
19 C. Leibrandt, A. Cook

Dickey is the 11th pitcher and 24th overall since 1901 to be in his age-37 or older season and reach 200 strikeouts. He is the first to do it since John Smoltz in 2006. Of the 11 men to achieve this feat, Dickey is one of three knuckleballers, joining Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough.

• Aaron Cook allowed one run and five hits in six innings and picked up the win as the Red Sox defeated the Rays, 5-2. Cook struck out one batter in the start, marking the 19th time in his career he has started and won a game while having no more than one K. Over the past 30 seasons, those 19 are tied for the eighth most.

• In the Braves' 7-5 victory over the Marlins, Martin Prado went 4-for-4 with two RBIs, Dan Uggla hit a three-run home run, and Tim Hudson improved to 15-6 despite allowing four runs and 10 hits in a five-inning stint.

The four-hit night gave Prado 174 hits for the season, second most in the NL to Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (182). The Braves have not had a player lead the league in hits since 1992, when Terry Pendleton and the Pirates' Andy Van Slyke each finished with 199.

Uggla's home run was his 19th of the season and the 209th of his career. Those 209 through his first seven seasons tie him with Rocky Colavito, Jose Canseco, Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera for the 21st most in history. The total is also the most for any second baseman through his first seven seasons, with Alfonso Soriano (162) ranking second.

Hudson's 15th win gave him eight seasons with at least that many. He is one of 61 pitchers in the modern era to have at least eight, and one of three active pitchers -- along with Andy Pettitte (eight) and Roy Halladay (eight) -- to have that many.

• Chris Tillman allowed one run and three hits in six innings, while Adam Jones went 3-for-4 with a double and four runs scored as the Orioles defeated the Mariners, 10-4. Both Tillman and Jones were acquired by the Orioles in the trade that sent Erik Bedard to Seattle.

Tillman improved to 8-2 with a 3.22 ERA this season. He's made three starts against the Mariners, going 3-0 with a 0.83 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

Jones, who is fifth in the AL with 67 extra-base hits, is the first Orioles player since Ty Wigginton on June 14, 2009, to score four times in a game. He is the first to do it out of the cleanup spot since Rafael Palmeiro on June 1, 1998. Palmeiro's effort 14 years ago also came against the Mariners.

• The Giants' 2-1 victory over the Rockies at AT&T Park included a double and a triple (both by Brandon Crawford) but no home runs.

San Francisco -- which owns an eight-game lead over the Dodgers for first in the NL West -- has 54 home games this season without a home run; since the NL went to a 162-game schedule in 1962, that total is tied for the 33rd most for a Senior Circuit club. The 54 homerless contests are the most for an NL team since the 1992 Dodgers had 57 home games without a long ball.

No NL division winner has had as many as 54 in a season since the 1982 Cardinals had 57.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.