Staring down the Seattle lineup at Safeco Field might help Cliff Lee remember what it feels like to win.
Lee, who hasn’t won in nine starts since beating the Mariners seven weeks ago, will try to turn things around when the Cleveland Indians close out a two-game series in Seattle.
Lee opened 2004 with a 10-1 record but has gone 0-6 since while watching his ERA rise from 3.81 to 5.48. His last start was one of his worst this season as he lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up six runs and five hits in the Indians’ 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday.
“I don’t know the answer,” Lee said. “I need to change something. I don’t know what it is, but I need to do it pretty quick.”
Lee’s last victory came in an 18-6 rout at Seattle on July 16, when he allowed three runs and four hits over six innings.
Perhaps Lee should get some tips from fellow lefty C.C. Sabathia after the 24-year old turned in his best start of the season in Cleveland’s 5-0 win over the Mariners on Monday.
Sabathia allowed just five hits for his second career shutout and Omar Vizquel hit a two-run homer to lead the Indians.
“That’s about as good as I’ve seen him—ever,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said of Sabathia. “He was throwing the changeup a lot harder with more movement tonight. He threw in some backdoor sliders, really some harder breaking ball sliders.
“Then I saw him hit 97 (mph) a couple of times. It was tough.”
Travis Hafner and Casey Blake hit solo homers to help Cleveland to an early 4-0 lead and Matt Lawton added a ninth-inning blast as Cleveland snapped a five-game skid and handed the Mariners their sixth straight loss.
Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-4, getting singles in the third and ninth innings to push his season hits total to 226—31 short of George Sisler’s 1920 major league record of 257. Suzuki has 25 games remaining.