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Crasnick on what makes Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee

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Jerry Crasnick has a great piece at ESPN on what makes Cliff Lee so special, given that he doesn't have overpowering stuff.

Crasnick talks to pitching coaches Leo Mazzone, Bryan Price, and Rick Knapp to find out why Lee can do what he does, and they have some interesting things to say about his mechanics and his ability to stay calm being so critical to his success.

Price and Mazzone both invoke Greg Maddux when talking about Lee, comparing the two in their ability to maintain their mechanics and timing.

I think that Lee's mechanics being so important to his success may have something to do with the reluctance to use him on short rest, and his history of performing better on longer rest.  The problem with high pitch counts isn't necessarily the number of pitches themselves, but the fatigue that ensues, which results in mechanical breakdowns which lead to injuries.

With Lee, I have to wonder if more rest means he's physically stronger and thus better able to maintain his mechanics, which allows him to better command his pitches.

In any case, it is an outstanding article by Crasnick, that I strongly recommend everyone check out.