Lee still dominating Yanks
By: Charlie Miller | 10/19/10, 11:28 AM EDT
Cliff Lee is firmly cemented among the best postseason pitchers ever. He is 7-0 in his eight starts with a 1.26 ERA. His latest gem Monday night confirmed that he is better than the Yankees. He proved too tough for the Rays twice, now has three consecutive wins over the Yankees in postseason play including two in the World Series last season. He has masterful command of multiple pitches.
The key for Texas now is to get back to Lee for Game 7. That means they must win one of the next three games, the first two to be played in New York. The Yankees, on the other hand, can’t be too confidant facing Lee, which essentially forces them to sweep the next three games to advance.
For me, the at-bat of the game came in the first inning. Michael Young — after a called strike on the first pitch — fouled off four pitches working Andy Pettitte to a full count. The nine-pitch at-bat ended with a line drive single into right-center. That at-bat gave on-deck hitter Josh Hamilton a good look at Pettitte. The Yankee lefthander left a slider too far over the plate and Hamilton stroked it just over the right field wall. That was the lone chink in Pettitte’s game, but it was enough for the Rangers. Without those runs, the ninth inning certainly would have been played differently by Yankee manager Joe Girardi. And who knows, after 122 pitches the Yankees may have been able to get to Lee in the ninth. Nah. Maybe not, but the one at-bat by Young proved to be the game winner in my mind.
We expected heroics from Lee. We’ve seen it before. But in the National League, we expected dominance from the Philadelphia Phillies. What we’ve seen is unlikely heroics from a most unlikely source.
In August, Cody Ross was toiling in Miami in front of about 10,000 fans a game (generously) and a preventing-him-from-going-to-their-rival waiver claim later, he became a central figure for San Francisco in the NLCS. Ross homered in the Giants’ clinching win over the Braves in Game 4 of the NLDS. Then he homered twice off Roy Halladay as the Giants upset the Phillies in Game 1. For good measure he also took Roy Oswalt deep in Game 2 in a Giants loss.
The Carlsbad, N.M., native has worn the uniform of the Tigers, Dodgers and Reds in addition to the Marlins and Giants. He has been traded twice, for Steve Colyer and Ben Kozlowski. On Aug. 22, the Giants claimed him off waivers from the Marlins, presumably to keep the rival Padres from grabbing him. In six postseason games, Ross has four homers and is slugging 2.000, and perhaps it was only an injury to Jose Guillen that kept Ross on the postseason roster.
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