What anyone who knows Cliff Lee will tell you is that he is crazy-competitive, the sort of person who must win whether he's playing cards or basketball or ping pong, or if he's pitching.
What's strange about all that is that Lee never looks exercised, never looks as though he's overcome by anger or adrenaline or competitiveness. Jake Peavy is competitive, too, but he is constantly screaming at himself or commenting on the game situation, every emotion betrayed by his face. CC Sabathia mostly contains his feelings, but he'll pump his fist and scream in a big spot.
Lee? Nothing. You get more emotion from a statue. You see more expression from a Buckingham Palace guard.
The Phillies left-hander has a scoreless streak of 32 innings after shutting down the Red Sox on Tuesday, and other than the sprint he takes off the field at the end of every inning, Lee manages to look as though he's doing something as mundane as taking out the garbage or raking leaves.
Which got me to thinking while we're all making our choices for All-Star teams: Who would be part of the All-Calm Team? These are guys who are good at what they do but don't show a whole lot of emotion in celebration or in frustration.
This would be my version of what we'll call the All-John Olerud Team:
SP: Cliff Lee
Closer: Mariano Rivera
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Adrian Gonzalez (Watch him field tough grounders or make throws; he never rushes.)
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Stephen Drew
3B: Placido Polanco
OF: Martin Prado
OF: Nick Markakis
OF: Andrew McCutchen
For the readers: Name your All-Calm Team (never to be confused with the All-Don't Care Team).
From ESPN Stats & Information, some notes on how Lee dominated the Red Sox:
A. Lee continues to mix up his pitches on the first pitch. Although that results in fewer first-pitch strikes, he hasn't been hit hard on the first pitch this month. Lee threw first-pitch fastballs to 15 of 29 batters (51.7 percent), below his season average of 62.6 percent but right in line with his June average of 52.0 percent.
B. Lee is getting fewer swings and giving up fewer hits on the first pitch. Tuesday, the Red Sox swung at the first pitch just three times, the fewest times against Lee in the past three seasons. The Red Sox put the first pitch in play just once, a Dustin Pedroia first-inning groundout.
C. Red Sox hitters were 0-for-8 in at-bats ending with a Lee off-speed pitch, the most such at-bats without allowing a hit for him this season. Thirty-four of Lee's 112 pitches (30.4 percent) were off-speed, his fourth-highest percentage this season. He got nine called strikes with his off-speed pitches, his most this season, and his strike percentage of 70.6 with his off-speed pitches is his highest this month.
D. Lee finishes the month of June with a 5-0 record, allowing just one run for a 0.21 ERA.
Lee became the first pitcher to throw three straight shutouts since Brandon Webb in 2007 and joined Robin Roberts (July 1950) as the only Phillies pitchers in the live ball era (since 1920) with three consecutive shutouts. With the shutout, Lee's scoreless streak has now reached 32 innings.
Most consecutive shutouts by left-handed pitchers in the past 30 years:
2011 -- Cliff Lee, Phillies (3)
1994 -- Randy Johnson, Mariners (3)
1987 -- Teddy Higuera, Brewers (3)
1985 -- John Tudor, Cardinals (3)
1981 -- Fernando Valenzuela, Dodgers (3)
• Padres prospect Donavan Tate has been suspended for 50 games. Wow.
• Major League Baseball worked out a deal so that Frank McCourt has a line of funding through a hedge fund. It all seems very parental, from MLB's perspective; it feels as though the end result is inevitable. Go ahead, take out your crazy loan at 10 percent interest on top of your other mountain of debt. We'll see what happens.
This is the final straw for Dodgers season-ticket holders, writes Bill Plaschke.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have fallen to a season-high 10.5 games out of first place.
A perfect storm of bad events is, unfortunately, gathering over the Marlins as they prepare to move into their new ballpark.
Meanwhile, some of the players are joking that U2 is against them, Clark Spencer writes.
I'd respectfully disagree, for a couple of reasons. First, he's expensive, earning $10 million this year. To put that into perspective: Last year, the most that any team spent in midseason acquisitions was a total of about $5 million -- which is what Pena alone will make in the second half of the season. And although Pena is highly regarded for his clubhouse presence, he is a very streaky hitter, which means that you could deal a good prospect for him and risk getting little production out of him down the stretch. The Rays could testify to that, having seen Pena struggle in 2010.
Pena in August 2010: .208 average, .381 OBP, 3 HRs and 17 K's in 48 at-bats
Pena in September 2010: .111 average, .256 OBP, 2 HRs and 28 K's in 72 at-bats
If you get Pena at the right time, he can carry a team. But the valleys for him are very deep, and the contenders might be looking for a sure thing if they're going to give up prospects.
Moves, deals and decisions
1. Stuart Sternberg noted that the Rays' attendance is well below expectations. There is an expectation among rival executives that Tampa Bay is going to move some veterans before the trade deadline, regardless of the standings.
5. The Angels signed their No. 1 pick.
7. Mike Quade has been added to the coaching staff at the All-Star Game.
9. Terry Francona has a lot of options and no perfect solutions.
10. The Diamondbacks shook up their bullpen.
Dings and dents
1. Alex Rios, who has had a disastrous season so far, drew the ire of his manager; he was pulled out of the game for not running hard.
The White Sox, like the Cubs, aren't getting much bang for their buck, given the struggles of Rios and Adam Dunn and the injury issues of Jake Peavy in the two years they've had him. Those three players make about $42 million combined.
2. The Mets rolled with a couple of grand slams. Jose Reyes went 4-for-4, and now he's on pace for 240 hits, 43 doubles, 31 triples and 6 homers as well as a solution for world peace. From ESPN Stats & Info: Reyes took the major league lead in hits and extended his NL lead in batting average on Tuesday thanks to his continued success against the changeup. Reyes got one of his four hits against the changeup Tuesday and is hitting .333 against the pitch this season, up from .228 last year. Reyes already has 18 hits off changeups this season, compared to just 21 all of last season.
Reyes had his 40th multihit game of the season Tuesday in his team's 79th game. Reyes is the first National Leaguer with 40 multihit games in his team's first 81 games since Tommy Holmes of the 1945 Boston Braves had 42 such games through 81 team games.
Most multihit games since 1950, among NL players in their teams' first 81 games:
2011 -- Jose Reyes (40)
2001 -- Luis Gonzalez (39)
1975 -- Dave Cash (39)
1969 -- Matty Alou (39)
1961 -- Vada Pinson (39)
1954 -- Red Schoendienst (39)
Reyes is the quickest to 15 triples in a season in the live ball era (since 1920). He did it in his team's 79th game. The previous quickest was Curtis Granderson, who hit his 15th triple in his team's 80th game in 2007.
Reyes is on pace for fewer than 10 homers but a slugging percentage of better than .500. That is a very rare combination in MLB history among players who had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title.
Fewer than 10 HR, slug percentage of .500 or better, among qualified players since 1945:
John Valentin, BOS -- 1994*
Tony Gwynn, SD -- 1987
Harvey Kuenn, DET -- 1959
Mickey Vernon, WSH -- 1946
Phil Cavarretta, CHC -- 1945
* = Strike-shortened season
3. Speaking of Vernon Wells: He had a really nice game and is on a bit of a roll with seven hits in his last 18 at-bats.
8. The Nationals lost ugly.
9. The Jays mashed a bunch of homers in defeat, Richard Griffin writes.
13. The Red Sox had no answers.
16. A Houston rookie was hit hard.
17. A Cleveland comeback came up short, Paul Hoynes writes.
19. The Padres have clinched a winning homestand, writes Bill Center.
20. The Mariners fell apart in the late innings.
21. Reinforcements arrived for the Cardinals.
22. Greinke's outing was his worst since joining the Brewers, writes Tom Haudricourt.
23. The Reds had their guts ripped out.
The Patience Index
• Adam Dunn is unsure about whether a sports doc would help him.
• The Royals have work to do with their rotation, writes Sam Mellinger.
• Tsuyoshi Nishioka's struggles are related to anxiety, writes Jim Souhan.
• The Tigers are in first place, but Jim Leyland still gets hammered by fans, writes Tom Gage.
And today will be better than yesterday.