On Monday night Cliff Lee became the first Cleveland Indians pitcher to win 20 games in a season since Gaylord Perry did it back in 1974. Lee accomplished the feat the exact way a pitcher would want to do it, too. Pitching a complete game shutout against the Chicago White Sox, and at one point retiring 20 straight hitters.
Now obviously Cliff has been fantastic all season, you kind of have to be to win 20 games, but last night he seemed to have a bit of extra motivation. It was as though his intensity level had risen, and after the game Lee admitted it was a bit higher. The reason for this? Well, A.J. Pierzynski of course.
"He slammed his bat down and stared me down[ after popping out]," Lee said. "I stared back. He was chirping in the dugout. It gave me a little extra energy. Actually, I appreciate him doing that."
Of course, Pierzynski had a different story to tell afterwards.
"I rounded first, and he said something else and I looked at him like, 'What?'" Pierzynski said. "I didn't say anything. I was mad because I missed a 3-2 pitch and popped up. It wasn't meant anything toward him. You miss a pitch, you pop up against a guy that good, you can't miss pitches to hit. Oh well."
Now it's hard to believe Pierzynski when it comes to this kind of stuff, as it follows him around constantly, but I'm kind of leaning more towards his side of the story here. Why on earth would A.J. be talking crap to Lee after popping up? "You see how high I hit that? You suck!" That makes no sense.