With the Yankees strong favorites to win the world series, 60% before last night’s game according to Baseball Prospectus, the Phillies needed a strong start to the series to get them on the right track. And boy did they get that from Cliff Lee tonight.
Against the best offense in baseball, he pitched nine innings and allowed just six hits and one run. He also struck out ten batters, while walking zero. Let’s take a look at how he was able to locate his pitches:
(Note: the previous chart was mislabeled, so I fixed it)
13% swinging strikes
He was pounded the strike zone with all of his pitches and was able to get a bunch of swings and misses. Only 27% of his balls in play were on the ground; however 20% of the balls in the air were pop ups and he was able to get a bunch of shallow fly balls as well.
All in all, an amazingly impressive start from Cliff Lee against a Yankees offense that really was quite amazing all year. After the win, the Phillies’ now have a 60% chance of winning it all.