A cheat sheet on what to expect from the Phillies' new left-hander.
If you’re like me, you rarely watch the American League and know little about the Phillies new left-hander. The first thing to know is that he’s not overpowering. Lee’s game revolves around efficiency and excellent command of a vast array of pitches. Don’t expect Lee to ring up a ridiculous number of strikeouts. His fastball sits between 88-92 mph and he doesn’t have what could be defined as a trademark pitch, the way Cole Hamels is known for his change-up. What makes him unique from the other lean lefties in the rotation is the spot-on command of his breaking stuff, a plus curve and slider he’ll use to miss bats. One criticism of the move was the idea of adding another lefty to the rotation, but over his career, his platoon splits have been reasonably even, although right-handed hitters are seeing him better this season. Last season, he led the league in ERA (2.54), ERA+ (175), BB/9 (1.4) and HR/9 (0.5), an enormous improvement over a disastrous 2007 season, which included a minor league demotion. Therein lies the real difference between Lee and Roy Halladay: the lack of sustained excellence and the risk of reverting back to old habits.