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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

July 28, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Cliff Lee’s been great for Texas, but he misses that mighty Mariner offense

leerangers.jpg

Cliff Lee throws in the first inning of last night’s game against Oakland. Photo by Associated Press.

Here is today’s Mariners minor-league report.

Yeah, Cliff Lee didn’t realize how good he had it in Seattle, with those powerful Mariner bats to prop him up.

Or something like that.

Since being traded to the Rangers, Lee has pitched brilliantly, just as he did in Seattle. But he’s not getting nearly the run support he did with Wak’s Wall Bangers.

In four starts with Texas, Lee has a 2.55 ERA. In 35 1/3 innings, he’s allowed 25 hits. He’s struck out 25 and walked just one — and that was an intentional base on balls. Lee has worked 9, 9, 8 1/3 and 9 innings. Crazy good, right in line with his 8-3, 2.34 mark in Seattle. And consider that nine of the hits he allowed as a Ranger, and six of the runs, came in his first start — one day after a very disruptive 24 hours filled with trade rumors, an interminable wait for the deal to be finalized, and a cross-country trip.

But in those four games, Lee has just a 1-1 record. Last night, he worked nine superb innings against the A’s, allowing just one run while striking out a career-high 13, but got a no-decision, because Texas could manage just one run themselves while he was in the game. They ended up winning, 3-1, on Nelson Cruz’s two-run homer in the 10th.

In his first game with Texas, the Rangers scored one run in a 6-1 loss to Baltimore.

In his second game, they scored two runs in a 3-2 loss to the Red Sox.

In his third game, they scored three runs in a 3-2 win over the Angels.

And then three runs last night.

That’s a total of nine runs scored by the Rangers in four starts — 2.25 per start. While Lee was the Mariners, they scored 63 runs in his 13 starts — 4.8 per start.

The Mariners — last in the American League in runs scored with 331 — gave Lee twice as much offense as he’s received, so far, from the Rangers, who rank third with 505 runs.

Yeah, small sample size and all that. But Lee has to be wondering when he’s going to be the beneficiary of all that Texas muscle.

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