Monday, October 18, 2010
ALCS Game 3 Preview: Rangers at Yankees
It's hard to imagine the Texas Rangers reaching the World Series without Cliff Lee winning his Game 3 start against the New York Yankees.
Lee in his career against the Yankees:
• 2-0, 3.38 ERA in two postseason starts (both in 2009 World Series).
• 6-4 in 12 regular-season starts with a 4.42 ERA, and 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA since 2008.
• 4-2, 4.46 ERA in New York.
• Including the postseason, Derek Jeter is 19-for-44 (.432 BA) against Lee, the best batting average against the left-hander among the Yankees starters. Mark Teixeira is 11-for-38 (.289) and Nick Swisher is 8-for-30 (.267) with two HR against Lee.
If the Rangers are going to force the ALCS back to Texas for Game 6, they will have to do something in the postseason that they weren't able to do in the regular season: beat the Yankees in New York. The Rangers were 0-3 and their pitchers had a 6.14 ERA at Yankee Stadium in 2010. On offense, the Rangers scored six runs in those three games and hit just .181 (15-83) with one home run.
Then again, Texas was 0-3 at Tampa Bay during the regular season before winning three ALDS games at Tropicana Field.
Lee’s counterpart, Andy Pettitte, is 7-2 in 13 LCS starts with a 3.93 ERA. He beat the Rangers back in April at Yankee Stadium, throwing eight innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. Michael Young had two of those hits, and the Rangers’ 3-4-5 hitters -- Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz -- were a combined 0-9 against Pettitte.
Ron Washington may have a tough decision to make with his starting lineup tonight. Guerrero, Hamilton David Murphy and Jeff Francoeur are a combined 26-for-63 (.413) with a home run apiece in their careers against Pettitte, while Nelson Cruz is just 1-for-11.
Additionally, Pettitte has 19 career postseason wins, the most in major league history and four more than second-place John Smoltz. In fact, Pettitte is the only player in the top 10 who is still active. And if Pettitte finishes the fourth inning, he’ll pass Greg Maddux for the third-most innings pitched in LCS history.
But neither starting pitcher will be excited to have Jim Reynolds calling balls and strikes. Lee is 0-2 with a 4.34 ERA in three career starts with Reynolds behind the plate, while Pettitte has fared even worse. The Yankees hurler is 1-4 with a 6.90 ERA, and a K/BB ratio less than two, in six career starts with Reynolds behind the dish, while allowing a batting average of .354.