Cliff Lee tossed a complete-game shutout in a 1-0 win over the Reds on Friday night. He scattered six hits while striking out seven and of course, walking none. Incredibly, the left-hander has walked only four batters over 77 2/3 innings this season.
Just to put things in perspective, Daisuke Matsuzaka exceeded Lee’s walk total for the entire season by issuing five free-passes in one inning against the Royals last month. Meanwhile, Lee hasn’t walked a single batter since June 2 against the Twins, a span
of 28 innings.
As we start to inch our way towards the All-Star break, it’s time to start thinking about his chance to make history. After Friday’s brilliant outing, Lee has a ridiculous 16.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio (67/4) through his first 10 starts. There’s still a while to go here, obviously, but if he keeps it up, Lee would be in a stratosphere all by himself. Bret Saberhagen currently holds the all-time record by posting a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11 (143/13) with the Royals in 1994.
Things might not have went as Jack Z planned this season, but at least Lee’s trade value is increasing by the minute.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.