Charlie Manuel was correct last Saturday when he said after the Phillies' 4-1 loss that questions of whether Cliff Lee throws too many strikes only arise when he doesn't win.

"If he gets hit, that's when you talk about it, that he throws too many strikes," Manuel said. "But that's also the kind of pitcher he is when he's real good. He's a tempo-rhythm pitcher and he gets the ball and he doesn't take a lot of time."

But just because Lee is an unyielding strike-thrower -- win or lose -- doesn't mean that the same things that make him an elite starter can't also hurt him from time to time.

There is merit to the idea that Lee, who will start Thursday night in Milwaukee, is pounding the zone a bit too much.

Lee has thrown a first-pitch strike to 71 percent of batters this season. That leads baseball. But everyone knows that he's going to pump a strike on the first pitch, so batters more often than not swing.