Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee loses shutout streak, winning streak versus Blue Jays

10 Comments

Cliff Lee, coming off three straight shutouts versus the Marlins, Cardinals and Red Sox, took the loss Sunday as the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 7-4.

Lee had his scoreless streak snapped at 34 innings when Rajai Davis tripled and then scored on a groundout in the third inning of the game.  The Blue Jays went on to add single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to chip away at what had been an early 4-0 lead for the Phillies.

Suddenly, in the eighth inning, it was bombs away.   Lee, who hadn’t allowed a homer in six stats since May 31, gave up three in a span of five batters.  Eric Thames and Jose Bautista went back-to-back to start the frame, and Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run shot with one out.

The Blue Jays held on from there, sending Lee to his first loss since that aforementioned May 31 outing against the Nationals.  He had been 5-0 since.

Lee ended up with nine strikeouts and no walks on the day, but all seven runs, six of which were earned, were charged to him.  He gave up three homers in a start for the first time since allowing four in a loss to the Orioles last Aug. 21.

Bautista added to his major league lead with 27 homers.  He went deep in all three games of the series against the Phillies.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images
6 Comments

Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.