Baseball has named it’s AL & NL Comeback Players of the Year, and each of them are pitchers. Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians and Brad Lidge of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Lee went 22-3 with an American League-leading 2.54 ERA. The previous season, he was 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA and was demoted to the minor leagues.
Lidge was a perfect 41-for-41 in save opportunities as the Phillies’ closer. In 2007, he converted just 19 of 27 for the Houston Astros.
The question should be asked, which one of these two had the more surprising season? Lidge leaves Houston after saving only 19 out of 27 games last season (they said his arm was dead) to have one of the better seasons a closer has had in the history of this game.
Cliff Lee comes out as the 3 starter on the Cleveland Indians and wins up winning 22 games on a team that was bad for a lot of the season. Lee had shown flashes before, winning 18 games in 2005; but had never had an ERA under 3.79 in a season he had made more than 30 starts.
I have to say that both of these guys are probably having their last big time seasons. We wouldn’t wager on either of them ever repeating these numbers, but for the fans in Philly and Cleveland; they were definite pleasant surprises.