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Game Sixty-Nine: Indians 10, Phillies 1

Box Score
Win Probability Added @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Cliff Lee .190
Kelly Shoppach .130
Josh Barfield .072

Lowest WPA:

Casey Blake -.028
Ryan Garko -.024
Victor Martinez -.021

Cliff Lee threw his curve, threw it for strikes, and went seven solid innings. It's amazing how that works.

I'm not saying just throwing the curve again is going to magically turn Lee into a true Cy Young candidate, but it should allow him to at least stay in games. Lee's fastball barely touches 90, and without a perspective-changing alternative, it's very hittable. Rick Manning thought that his success against the Angels led Lee to believe that he could get away with being a two-pitch pitcher, which does seem to fit what's happened. If true, it shouldn't have taken Lee this long to figure out that a starting pitcher can't get away with a two-pitch arsenal for long; this is his sixth season in the majors, after all.

Kelly Shoppach continues to mash despite playing occasionally, something I would think very difficult to do. For his career, he's how hitting .302/.393/.642 against left-handed pitching. That, and Ryan Garko's massive slump, should get him more playing time against southpaws.

That the Indians faced a left-hander when Cliff Lee pitched was a very happy accident; it allowed the Indians to play their better defensive corner outfielders behind their starter with the heaviest flyball tendencies. Actually, it doesn't make that much difference for Gutierrez whether he's facing a right-hander or a left-hander, so the option is there for him to play behind Cliff Lee and/or Paul Byrd on a regular basis.

Next Up: Stanford vs. Kendrick, 7:05 PM