Cliff Lee will enter July without a win.
At first, this was mostly a ridiculous quick based primarily on a lack of run support, but this isn’t just about the offense anymore.
Lee dropped to 0-5 last night by allowing six runs over 4 2/3 innings as part of a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. It was his shortest outing since last July 25 and the most runs he has allowed in a start since last July 3.
Lee has allowed 20 runs in 24 2/3 innings over his last four starts and has watched his ERA jump from 2.92 to 4.13 in the process. His ERA hasn’t been this high this late in a season since 2007 with the Indians when he finished with a 6.29 ERA. The 33-year-old is just the second former Cy Young Award winner to go winless over his first 13 starts in a season, joining Vida Blue, who did it with the Royals back in 1983.
Yes, Lee’s secondary numbers tell us that he has pitched better than the results indicate and he’s bound to go on a nice run here sooner or later, but it’s perfectly OK to say that this is just plain weird.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.