Philadelphia Phillies star Cliff Lee just completed one of the greatest individuals months by a player in the history of major league baseball.
Lee won all five of his starts this month. He pitched 42 innings, allowing 21 hits, eight walks, and just a single earned run. In each of his last three starts, he has thrown a complete game shutout, the first pitcher to do so since Brandon Webb in 2007 (and the first Phillies pitcher to accomplish the feat since Robin Roberts in 1950). He has also thrown at least 112 pitches in each start, with a high of 126.
Lee has more than made up for a disappointing start to the 2011 season. Just a month ago, he was 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA.
Now, he is 9-5 with a 2.66 ERA. He has allowed just 103 hits, with 119 strikeouts, in 122 innings. He is currently working on a streak of 33 consecutive scoreless innings, more than half of the major league record (59 set by Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988).
Cliff Lee is a lock to appear in the All-Star Game for the third time in the past four seasons. With his incredible month, he has thrown himself into the Cy Young race, along with teammates Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels, and Atlanta Braves pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson.