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Lee pitching like an ace in Cleveland

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Who is this guy pitching for the Cleveland Indians, and what has he done with the real Cliff Lee?

In case you haven't been paying attention, the Indians' left-hander is now 6-0 with a miniscule 0.81 earned run average after yet another impressive road outing on Wednesday against the New York Yankees in the Bronx. He has only allowed four runs in 44 2/3 innings this season, and the next run he gives up on the road will be his first of the year.

Not bad for a guy who wasn't even expected to start the season with the team.

After winning 46 games from 2004-06, Lee's 2007 campaign was immediately derailed when an abdominal strain he suffered in spring training forced him to start the season on the disabled list. The injury proved to be a thorn in his side - somewhat literally - all season long.

Lee was never able to get on track a year ago and was eventually demoted to Triple-A Buffalo in late July after going 5-8 with a 6.38 ERA. He returned as a reliever in September, but was left off the team's postseason roster.

Coming into spring training this season, Lee was expected to fight for the fifth starter spot along with youngsters Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Sowers, but not much was expected from the 29-year-old given his struggles from a year ago.

Lee, though, won the job outright in March and the rest, as they say, is history.

So what has been the difference? Has Lee been visiting teammate Paul Byrd's dentist? Of course not, but Lee, who won 18 games for the Tribe in 2004, says his delivery has been more consistent and it is the command of his fastball that has made him so effective this season. When his fastball is working, everything else just falls into place.

Whatever it is, it is working. And the Indians can thank their lucky stars that it is, given the struggles of reigning Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia.

Maybe replacing Sabathia at the end of the year won't be as big a problem as Cleveland once thought it was going to be. Perhaps they've already found an heir ace to replace him.

OZZIE'S ACT IS GROWING TIRED

How much longer is Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf going to let Ozzie Guillen embarrass his organization?

At some point, enough has to be enough with this moron.

Whether it is his profanity-laced tirades, his questioning the sexual orientation of a sports writer in Chicago, or his latest locker room shenanigans, the straw has to be coming close to breaking the camel's back in the Windy City.

I thought Guillen should have been fired last season, but he got an extension, despite his team losing 90 games.

Reinsdorf had no choice but to put up with Guillen's antics when the White Sox were winning, but Guillen's act is getting real old real quick now that the team is losing.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

It was a year ago this past Tuesday that Roger Clemens made his dramatic announcement from George Steinbrenner's box that he would be returning to the big leagues with the New York Yankees.

Well, it has been quite a year for the Rocket. Since then he has basically watched his legacy go up in flames. He has been named in the Mitchell Report, accused of using steroids by former trainer Brian McNamee, a revelation backed up by best buddy Andy Pettitte, by the way, and now comes word that Clemens was not quite the family man he always portrayed himself to be.

Now it appears just about every skeleton that Clemens has in his closet is going to be exposed. Everyday it seems like a new woman is coming out of the woodwork, saying that the Rocket either had an affair with or hit on them.

The best revelation came from country singer Mindy McCready, who confirmed that she and Clemens had a long-time extramarital affair, which some people claim started when she was just 15 years old.

Nice work Roger. Maybe you and Karl Malone should go bowling. Don't forget to pick up that magazine with the racy pictures of child star Miley Cyrus in it.

Still think it was a good idea to deny, deny, deny?

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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