October 18, 2009
There aren't many things to be gained by playing baseball in Cleveland for seven seasons, but growing impervious to cold temps is definitely one of them.
And not only because he used to pitch on the shores of Lake Erie. During Saturday's workout day press conferences, Lee offered a few more theories on why he's the best-suited Phillie to handle tonight's weather, which is expected to feature rain and game time temperatures in the low 40s.
"I think (cold) affects the hitter more than the pitcher ... The pitcher is up there going. You're steadily moving around and your heart rate is up. The position players, the guys behind me and the guys having to swing the bats are more worried about the cold than I am. Like I say, once I get going and the blood is flowing and I'm up there working consistently, it's — I don't feel the coldness.
"Sometimes maybe the ball feels a little slick a little bit, so you've got to be conscious of that. But you know, that's why you blow on the hand, lick the fingers, hit the rosin bag, things like that, to keep some feel in your hands. But like I say, I don't think it affects the pitcher as much as it does the hitters, and the guys on the field standing there waiting for the ball to come to them."
Lee is currently 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in two starts this postseason (including the cold-weather Game 4 in Colorado) and he's setting a pace that could see him somehow surpassing Cole Hamels' performance in 2008. He'll go against the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda(notes), who was the winning pitcher in last year's NLCS Game 3, but was fined $7,500 after throwing over the head of Shane Victorino.
If the cold weather performances of Saturday night's starters in New York are any indication both Lee and Kuroda will be set up well to shut down the opposing hitters tonight.
Still, the smart money is on Lee. Not only is he used to this sort of climate, he's turned it into a positive in his mind. (That 1.10 postseason ERA doesn't hurt my hunch, either.)