Lee's calm is the Yankees' storm
Updated: October 29, 2009, 10:58 AM ETBy Buster Olney
We are accustomed to seeing October tension reflected in the eyes of the pitchers. Orel Hershiser's eyes in 1988 were intense -- the Bulldog locked in like a hyper border collie. In Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, Jack Morris had the eyes of a linebacker, and he looked like he was ready to unhinge hitters. Who will ever forget Calvin Schiraldi's eyes of uncertainty, at the worst possible moment in 1986? Cliff Lee had the eyes of ... well, let's be honest here. He looked like a guy pitching to the kids in a family reunion softball game. When Johnny Damon lifted a popup over the infield in the seventh, did Lee scream at the other infielders, like a caffeinated traffic cop? No. He flipped his glove to the side and snared the ball. Jorge Posada hit a chopper in front of the mound a few batters later, and Lee jogged over, picked up the ball and slapped a round-house tag on the catcher's rear end, the way a dad does with his kid. Robinson Cano chopped a grounder through the middle, and naturally, Lee reached behind his back to snag the grounder and made the throw, and as the Phillies' infielders chuckled, Lee smiled, too, and shrugged. No big deal. When Lee finished off one of the greatest pitching performances in World Series history, the nonchalance almost became awkward, in this way: All the other Phillies understood how great Lee's performance was, but the pitcher responded like it was the fifth game of spring training, telling catcher Carlos Ruiz "Attaboy" and then moving through a series of brief handshakes.
The stats say A-Rod will bust out tonight, plus what Pedro will bring, more on Lee, and lots of free agency talk ... if you're an Insider.