Thursday, October 29, 2009

Does Cliff Lee remind you of anyone?

Check out Cliff Lee's pitch chart from his Game 1 win:

Does that remind you of anyone else you know? Doesn't it look a little bit like a mirror image of this pitch chart?

(What you're looking at, since it's been a little while, is the horizontal movement of each pitch graphed against its velocity, a chart that makes it pretty easy to distinguish a four-pitch repertoire of a fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. Pitcher B has a faster fastball and a slower changeup, but the two otherwise are almost exact mirror images -- a lefty and a righty with virtually the same arsenal.)

Even the spin magnitude chart -- a chart this writer only sort of understands -- makes the two look like mirror images. Here's Lee:

And here's the other guy:

Cliff Lee had a 5.43 ERA in his first full season in the major leagues, winning 14 games as a 25-year-old but struggling mightily the whole way. A year later, at the age of 26, he won 18 games and posted a respectable 3.79 ERA -- including a stretch in which he had a 2.36 ERA across eight starts.

Three years after that, at the age of 29, he posted a 2.54 ERA and won the American League's Cy Young Award. A night ago, he struck out 10 and walked no one in a complete-game victory in Game 1 of the World Series.

That sounds like just the type of pitcher the Red Sox would love.

No wonder they've been so reluctant to trade Clay Buchholz.

(Thanks, as always, to Dan Brooks.)

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