October 31, 2010 |
Reporting from Arlington, Texas This could be the end of a whirlwind romance, or not. Cliff Lee starts for the Texas Rangers on Monday to keep his team alive. "It's basically the last start of the season for me," Lee said. "I want to do everything I can to help this team win the World Series. " The New York Yankees have made clear Lee is their No. 1 priority. As the Angels learned all too well in the Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia sweepstakes, the Yankees are happy to take a team's best offer, add $20 million to it and dare the player to leave it on the table.
October 27, 2010 |
The Texas Rangers endured four decades of misery for the right to play in the World Series. They skipped up the steps onto baseball's grandest stage, led from the baseball wilderness by a pitcher touted as the second coming of Sandy Koufax or Christy Mathewson. Not on this night. In a Fall Classic opener that evoked wretched memories of summers past for the Rangers, Cliff Lee more closely resembled a second coming of David Clyde or Chan Ho Park. The San Francisco Giants beat up on the supposedly unbeatable Lee, dismissing the Rangers' ace in the fifth inning of an 11-7 victory in Game 1 of the Series.
October 22, 2010 |
With a 7-0 record, 1.26 earned-run average and three complete games in eight career postseason starts, Cliff Lee has thrust himself into an elite class of playoff pitchers from the modern era, a star-studded group headed by Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson. "Right now, he belongs in that conversation ? you can put Lee in that class because of what he's doing," said former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, 83. "He has tremendous command of three pitches: a fastball, curve and changeup, and he changes speeds very well.
October 18, 2010 |
Perhaps the urgency for the New York Yankees in what had essentially become a best-of-five American League Championships Series is that Cliff Lee could pitch in the last one. That essentially makes the next two games in Yankee Stadium must wins, because Lee looks unbeatable ? nearly unhittable ? against them. And, for that matter, against nearly everyone else. With Lee giving up two hits and striking out 13, the Rangers subdued the defending World Series champions, 8-0, Monday and grabbed a 2-1 lead going into Game 4 on Tuesday night.
October 17, 2010 |
He has won more postseason games than any pitcher in baseball history, and he works in the media capital of the world for the most famous team in American sports history. Yet the New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte is being overshadowed for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Monday by a pitcher who has been traded three times within a calendar year. Maybe it's because Pettitte is old news, a low-key 38-year-old. But more likely it's because of the New York media's fascination with Cliff Lee, who almost became a Yankee but instead wound up with the Texas Rangers on July 9. There is still time for Lee to become a Yankee ?
October 12, 2010 |
Cliff Lee always keeps hitters off balance. He throws hard, he throws soft. He throws in, he throws out. Nothing new about that. But what about a team that takes the same approach on the bases? Two-legged changeups? That's a novel approach. In the biggest game in the 50-year history of their franchise, the Texas Rangers combined Lee's brilliance with the unexpected, aggressive baserunning you might see at a youth league game. Hey, look at that, the wide-load truck of a catcher is trying to steal a base.
October 11, 2010 |
Try to work deep counts against Cliff Lee and you'll likely find yourself in a hole. Swing early in counts and you could make Lee even more efficient. That's the conflict the Tampa Bay Rays face Tuesday night as they try to clear their biggest hurdle ? beating Lee, the Texas Rangers' left-handed ace ? to become the first team since the 2001 New York Yankees to lose the first two games at home and still win the best-of-five American League division series. Lee is 5-0 in six postseason starts, including a 5-1 victory over the Rays in Game 1. "That's the type of guy that you better be on because he's one of the better ones in the game," Rays first baseman Carlos Pena said.
October 6, 2010 |
Reporting from St. Petersburg, Fla. ? Like many challenges that Cliff Lee has encountered in his last two seasons, Texas' left-hander handled them with the tranquility of a big-game pitcher. Lee worked out of a first-inning bases-loaded jam Wednesday to further extend his distinction as one of baseball's clutch pitchers. Lee struck out Carlos Pena and Rocco Baldelli to end the threat, and then embarked on a seven-inning, no-walk, 10-strikeout performance that enabled Texas to cruise to a 5-1 victory over Tampa Bay and 19-game winner David Price in Game 1 of the American League division series.
October 5, 2010
RANGERS VS. RAYS Game 1: Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. PDT Texas (Cliff Lee, 12-9, 3.18) at Tampa Bay (David Price, 19-6, 2.72) Game 2: Thursday, 11:30 a.m. Texas (C.J. Wilson, 15-8, 3.35) at Tampa Bay (James Shields, 13-15, 5.18) Game 3: Saturday, 2 p.m. Tampa Bay (Matt Garza, 15-10, 3.91) at Texas (Colby Lewis, 12-13, 3.72) Game 4: Sunday, TBA Tampa Bay (Wade Davis, 12-10, 4.07) at Texas (Tommy Hunter, 13-4, 3.73) Game 5: Oct. 12 Texas (Cliff Lee)