Cliff Lee has posted the lowest walk rate in 77 years

11 Comments

Cliff Lee won’t be pitching on short rest this postseason. He also, if regular season form holds up, won’t be issuing many walks.

From the Elias Stats bureau, via Buster Olney, is this fairly astounding factoid: Lee walked only 18 batters in 212 innings this year. That translates to a walk rate of 0.76 per nine innings. That’s the lowest walk rate for any
pitcher with 200 or more innings since 1933, when Cincinnati’s Red Lucas walked 18 guys in 219 innings.

Given how different the game is now — guys take a ton more walks these days — Lee’s mark is more impressive in my mind.  Not that saying so sullies the memory of Red Lucas, because really, how can any of us think about Red Lucas in a way other than that which the media and historians have been pounding him into our consciousness for the past several decades?

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.