Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
Cliff Lee has a relatively successful career in Major League Baseball that spanned from 2002 through 2014, suiting up with the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers. That run included an American League Cy Young award in 2008 and was a major component in four different significant trades during his playing days.
But how dominant could one pitcher really be against one team in just a four-year sample size?
The Dodgers saw that firsthand during the 2009 postseason, despite it being outside of our particular window of consideration. In one start against Los Angeles in the NLCS, Lee tossed eight innings of three-hit ball, with 10 strikeouts and zero walks, facing just two batters over the minimum.
He would leave Philly for a few seasons for the 2010 season, but after winding back up with the Phillies in 2011, he was right back up to his old hijinx.
In 53.2 innings of work against the Dodgers spanning from 2010 to 2014, Cliff Lee owns the lowest ERA (1.51), FIP (1.99), wOBA (.205), and BB/9 (1.5) while ranking 4th in K/9 (10.4), 5th in HR/9 (0.5). He held Dodgers hitters to a paltry .171/.209/.246 batting line with a 20.6% hard-hit rate and a soft-contact rate of 28.6% while inducing groundballs at a clip of 53.3%.
What does this all mean? Well, when the Dodgers were able to make contact with Lee’s offerings, they hit it weakly, something the National League was accustomed to during that timeframe. The league as a whole struggled against the lefty during that time frame, in which he went 41-30 with a 2.89 ERA, a 2.86 FIP, an 8.9 K/9 rate, and seven shutouts.
If Major League Baseball institutes a universal designated hitter in 2020, former Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig could be in high demand.
Lee would retire following the 2014 season, compiling a lifetime record of 143-91 with a 3.52 ERA and an 8.0 K/9 ratio. Despite being just 35-years-old at the time, Dodgers fans were not too heartbroken to see him off into the sunset.