Cliff Lee can mark another milestone off his baseball career to-do list. On Monday night, he became the first pitcher in major league history to strike out more than eight batters and record three hits with four runs batted in.
Maybe Cliff Lee is the next Babe Ruth. The only problem is Lee is 35-years-old and Ruth became a full-time hitter at 25-years-old.
The other good news is the Phillies won. They beat the Marlins 12-2 and improved their record to 70-80. Lee went eight innings and got the win. His season record is 14-6 and he has a 2.95 era. Not a bad year, especially considering he is pitching for a team with a losing record..
The last pitcher to get three hits with four RBIs in a game was Michah Owings in 2007. Sadly, Owings was known more for his hitting ability than pitching. He’s currently in the Brewers minor league system playing outfield. For those who enjoy statistics, Owings has a career.283 batting average, which may explain why he doesn’t pitch anymore.
Another former pitcher known for his hitting is Rick Ankiel, who switched to the outfield after developing control issues. Ankiel is the first player since Babe Ruth to have won at least 10 games as a pitcher and also hit at least 50 home runs. In 2008, Ankiel hit 25 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals to go along with 71 runs batted in.
In total, Lee has six runs batted in this year. With only one or two starts left, the race is on to get to 10!
Joking aside, what Cliff Lee did Monday night is nothing short of impressive. Pitchers don’t hit for a reason. When they do, they usually transition into full-time batters. Babe Ruth is the ultimate example.
To cap off his banner day, Lee also became the first pitcher since Curt Schilling in 1997 to strikeout 14 without walking a batter. What else can you say, the kid is good.
Cliff Lee hitting his way into the record books isn’t a surprise. He has a career.158 batting average, which is quite good for a pitcher.
Are you impressed by Cliff Lee hitting his way into history? Are you surprised he’s the first?
[image via Wikimedia Commons]