Lee, a 25-year-old left-hander, is unbeaten in six starts, and has a team-high three wins this season, allowing two runs or fewer in all but one of his outings.
On Friday against Baltimore, he gave up just two runs and five hits over six innings in the Indians’ 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Orioles. Lee did surrender his first homer of the season, a solo blast to Rafael Palmeiro in the sixth.
“It was a very good game until I gave up that bomb,” Lee said. “I threw the wrong pitch. If I’d have gotten him out, we’d have won.”
Although Lee took the responsibility, the Cleveland bullpen has been unreliable this season. Indians relievers are 5-12 with four saves in 13 chances and an ERA near 7.00. They suffered three straight losses during the Indians’ weekend series with the Orioles.
“We’re looking to see what the other options are. In the meantime we’ve got to use the guys that we have,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
The bullpen could not hold a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning Tuesday against the Red Sox, giving up doubles to David Ortiz and Bill Mueller and a two-run triple to pinch-hitter David McCarty as Boston won 5-3 to even the series.
“We’re trying to pitch around Mueller,” Wedge continued. “We don’t want to give him anything to hit. We don’t want to throw the ball over the plate and we throw the ball over the plate. I mean, that can’t happen. This is the big leagues—(it) can’t happen.”
The Red Sox snapped a two-game losing streak with the victory, their fifth win in the last seven games.