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News » Blue Jays-Indians Preview 2009-04-11

Blue Jays-Indians Preview 2009-04-11

Blue Jays-Indians Preview 2009-04-11
In one start, Cliff Lee has already amassed numbers he didn't reach until the eighth outing of his 2008 AL Cy Young Award season.

Given that those statistics are runs allowed and losses, that's not a good thing.

Lee seeks to bounce back from a dreadful opening-day performance and lead the Cleveland Indians to their first win Saturday, but to do so he must outpitch Toronto ace Roy Halladay and overcome the Blue Jays' potent lineup.

The Indians (0-4) have been outscored 42-21 in a terrible start for their pitching staff. The 42 runs allowed are the fourth-most through four games by any major league team since 1900, and the most since the 1978 Baltimore Orioles surrendered 44.

"I don't think anybody could expect coming out of the gates that we would see what we've seen so far," manager Eric Wedge said. "We always talk about being tough on the tough days and this is where they've got to show that. Everybody needs to have thick skin, they need to be tough and have broad shoulders and fight through this.

"It's a long season. As bad as these four games have been, and they've been bad, we've got to separate from it."

Lee's performance in Monday's season-opening 9-1 loss at Texas seemed to set the tone. The left-hander got pounded for seven runs and 10 hits in five innings. All the runs came after the Rangers' Hank Blalock hit a one-hopper off his forearm, but Lee (0-1, 12.60 ERA) refused to use that as an excuse.

"It's going to have to be dangling or broken before I'm going to come out," he said. "It's fine. I got it in the forearm. It'll probably be a little sore, but it'll be fine. I don't think it affected my pitches."

Still, his pitches didn't have the same effect on hitters that they did last season, when his 22-3 record and 2.54 ERA earned him Cy Young honors. Lee didn't suffer his first loss until May 18, and gave up a total of four earned runs over his first seven outings. Lee was also fantastic against the Blue Jays last season, throwing 17 scoreless innings over two starts.

This year's Blue Jays (4-1) appear tougher to stop. After totaling 24 runs and hitting seven homers earlier this week while taking three of four home games from Detroit, Toronto racked up 17 hits - including eight for extra bases - in Friday's 13-7 win to open this series.

The game included a rain delay of nearly four hours and didn't end until 7 hours, 12 minutes after the first pitch.

"I thought I was going to be in bed sleeping by now," Toronto designated hitter Adam Lind said after it finally ended. "We battled through a lot of things and got a nice win."

Lind went 3-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and four RBIs to continue his torrid start. He is 10-for-21 (.476) with three homers and a major league-best 11 RBIs - six of them in a 12-5 opening-day victory.

Halladay (1-0, 6.43) earned the win in that contest but didn't fool the Tigers, yielding five runs and six hits - two homers - over seven innings. The 2003 Cy Young Award winner had been 5-0 lifetime against Cleveland until last season, when he lost both of his outings while giving up eight runs - five earned - over 12 2-3 innings.

On Friday, Travis Hafner hit his second homer in two days and drove in three for Cleveland, and Victor Martinez and Shin-Soo Choo also homered. However, the Indians are trying to avoid their first 0-5 start since 1985, when they finished 60-102 and in last place in the AL East.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 11, 2009

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