Shanoff's W.U.C.: Cliff Lee for NL Cy? Yes!

Today's Calls: Cliff Lee vs. Tim Lincecum, Matt Holliday vs. Roy Halladay, Memphis vs. NCAA, Brett Favre vs. Reality, Caster Semenya vs. Testing, Jason Williams vs. Marvin Harrison, Oregon State vs. the Pac-10 and More. ↵

↵Cliff LeeThe Opening Pitch: Who is the best pitcher in the National League? You know: The guy who deserves the NL Cy Young award? ↵

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↵Oh, sure, you COULD say Tim Lincecum. But that is the easy way out. If the season ended today, I would give my NL Cy to Cliff Lee. ↵

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↵Start-for-start, no NL pitcher has been better, and the crazy part is that as good as Lee has been since he moved to Philadelphia, last night was his best start yet: Complete-game 2-hitter with 11 Ks and ZERO walks in a tidy 106 pitches. ↵

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↵That gives him 2 CGs in 4 NL starts. The 2 hits allowed was his best of the season, let alone his NL career. Same with the 11 Ks. ↵

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↵On the (short-) season, he is 4-0 in 4 GS with a 0.82 ERA (3 ER in 33 IP) and a 33-6 K-BB ratio. (Compare that to Lincecum, the reigning NL Cy and gold standard among NL pitchers: 12-3 in 25 GS with a 2.37 ERA and a 207-46 K-BB ratio.) ↵

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↵Sure, part of this is a fantasy (anything to escape from Favre, I think you'll agree), but if you had to pick an NL pitcher to start a make-or-break game for your team today, the answer would be Lee, not Lincecum. ↵

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↵How many games does Lee need to pull a "Sutcliffe '84" and realistically enter the NL Cy debate? By comparison, Lee's old teammate CC Sabathia went from the AL to NL last year and compiled an 11-2 record in 17 starts (7 CG) with a 1.65 ERA. He carried the Brewers into the playoffs. For all that, he earned a 5th-place NL Cy finish, with a lone 1st-place vote. ↵

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↵It wasn't me, but I would have given it to him. And if Lee keeps this up, I will be ready to do the same for him. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵— If Red Sox can't join Halladay, they just beat him. ↵

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↵— NLCS Preview: Holliday gives STL series win over LA ↵

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↵— Here come the Teixeira MVP apologists ... ↵

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↵— Smoltz to Cards today (Regret tomorrow?) ↵

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↵— Nats already using Stras to juice attendance ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Carlos Gonzalez (HR in 4 straight games) ↵

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↵Favre Watch, Cont'd: Is it over yet? I will point you to Mike Florio's column about how Favre lied to all of us — but my gut reaction is to say "What did you THINK was going on?" Anyone who didn't understand the calculation in Favre's decision-making — going back YEARS — is naive or a fool. ↵

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↵NFL Rumors: Marvin Harrison will not be joining the Titans. One team's legend joining a rival team? Come on: His name is "Marv" ... not "Favre!" ↵

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↵CBB Scandal: Memphis will likely have to vacate its 2008 Final Four appearance, along with the team's 38 wins. That gets us into "existential" territory: Like we're going to forget how that team did? (Most right to gripe: UCLA, who Memphis beat in the Final Four.) ↵

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↵Track Scandal: Caster Semenya is a woman, but may have the genetic make-up (and perhaps advantages) of a man. I don't think transgender athletes should be banned from participating. ↵

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↵NBA Offseason: Jason Williams signs with Magic. Now imagine him throwing lobs to Dwight Howard. As for razzle-dazzle, he may be the next-best thing to the departed Rafer Alston. ↵

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↵More: Bethlehem Shoals on AI on Twitter. ↵

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↵Gambling: There was some talk that there was a "Florida -73" line vs. Charleston Southern. It's actually "-63." ↵

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↵CFB Countdown: No. 16 Oregon State. Beating USC was not a fluke. Next to Oklahoma/Oklahoma State, the state of Oregon has the best two-team combo in college football. ↵

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↵Admit it: You can't get enough of the SEC talk. (No, really: You can't!) ↵

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↵CBB: Jarvis Varnado is the best college walk-on in a generation. ↵

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↵Soccer: As far as regular-season upsets go, they don't come much bigger than newly-promoted Burnley beating defending Premiership champ Man U. This was a victory not just for the promotion/relegation system, but for all fans out there who dislike Man U. ↵

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↵Business: I love that the Williams Sisters are going to become part-owners of the Dolphins. Between them and Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony, the Miami Dolphins are the "Planet Hollywood" of the NFL. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I think you’re going to have Packer fans burning the #4 Favre Green Bay jersey." I think the Packer fans have every right to be outraged." ↵
↵— Fran Tarkenton, who may be a big Vikings fan, but has no use for Brett Favre. Preach on, Franny boy! ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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