Cliff Lee Sizzling Through June

The Philly stud tosses third straight shutout to beat Red Sox.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Talking about getting your money's worth!

Coming into this season, the team to beat in the National League was clearly the Philadelphia Phillies after collecting one of the best starting rotations in baseball but while they still were winning in the early going, they weren't getting the type of performance from one of their aces that they were expecting.

Cliff Lee, acquired via free agency this past offseason, was supposed to be a huge steal for the Phillies after they nabbed him up before the Yankees and Lee's former team, the Texas Rangers, could do so. Heading into June, however, Lee had looked anything but a superstar after putting up a disappointing 4-5 record with a 3.94 ERA through May.

Then came June.

It's safe to say that June has been a little kinder to the dominant lefty. He has went a preposterous 5-0 for the month with a jaw dropping .21 ERA. Yep, I said .21, an ERA so low that he is only the fifth pitcher since War World II to post one that score or better and the first since 2002.

"He's one of the best pitchers in the game, and he's riding a hot streak. That is a bad combination for any team to face," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I haven't seen all of his starts, but from what I have seen, he's been quite impressive. He's working counts, and he's throwing strikes when he has to. He's really got it going right now."

The Red Sox, arguably the best team in the American League, got to witness Lee's dominance first hand Tuesday night as he pitched a two hitter for his third consecutive shutout win. He was so in control that he didn't even allow a hit till the sixth inning, a line drive single to left-center by Boston's Marco Scutaro.

"It's been a good run, no doubt about it," Lee said. "I've had a few in my career, but I don't look back and compare them. I want to throw a shutout every time out there. I never want to give up a run."

Like all good things, this run has to eventually come to an end but for Philly fans, it's enough to give you hope that all the promises and expectations preseason could become a reality. This team could win it all.

Photo Credit:  ASSOCIATED PRESS