Tomorrow, October 7th, 2009, exactly 2 months and a day since Lee's Philadelphia home debut, Citizen's Bank Park will once again be the spot for a Cliff Lee home debut - this time it will be the first playoff game Lee has pitched in his career. Surprisingly, this game will feature the Colorado Rockies, again. In Lee's only outing against Colorado, the Rockies managed 6 hits with only one extending to extra bases. Lee's 9 strike outs came mainly from a delicately place fastball and an on-point curveball. Essentially, Lee was able to keep the Rockies off balance all day long with pitches that could not be lifted to the gaps.
While Cliff Lee continued to dazzle the Philadelphia crowd for a few more starts, things seemed to change around August 29th. Since then, Lee has had a 2-4 record and a 6.20 era. One can only guess as to what may have changed in Lee's pitching to allow such a difference in his numbers. "He has been leaving the ball up, he has been relying on his curveball, the NL has finally caught on to his pitching style." All of these excuses could be debated, but the important thing to realize is that it isn't important at all!
As we saw last year with Cole Hamels, the postseason is a new animal and can breed a new player. Cole Hamels was able to dominate through the playoffs winning a game in each series against Milwaukee, LA and finally Tampa Bay. Lee seems to be the one pitcher in the rotation that is really struggling recently. With this said, if he is able to take this "new season" attitude into tomorrow's game and feed off of the Philly Phaithful, there is no reason that August 6th, 2009 was not the perfect foreshadowing to October 7th, 2009.