Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lee Wins AL Cy Young

Cleveland Indians pitcher Cliff Lee won the 2008 AL Cy Young Award. Lee, 30, was one the few bright spots for the Tribe in 2008. After coming within a heartbeat of the World Series, the Indians struggled most of 2008 although they played well enough in September to finish with a .500 record.

Although 2007 was full of triumph for the Indians, Lee struggled with a 5-8 record and a 6.29 ERA. Lee found himself demoted to Triple-A Buffalo in late July.

In 2008, Lee had a remarkable transformation going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA with 170 strikeouts. Lee started April 5-0 and never looked back. This is the second year in a row an Indians pitcher has won the AL Cy Young. C.C. Sabathia was the AL Cy Young winner in 2007. Sabathia was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in the middle of the 2008 season helping the Brewers to their first post-season appearance since 1982. Sabathia is now a free agent.

Lee was the first Indians pitcher to win 20 games since Gaylord Perry in 1974. Perry is the only other Indians pitcher other than Lee and Sabathia to win the award. The Baseball Writers Association of America awarded Perry the AL Cy Young in 1972.

Originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in 2000, he was traded along with Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips to the Indians for pitcher Bartolo Colon in the middle of the 2002 season. Without Lee and Sizemore the Indians might have finished in the cellar of the AL Central.

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