Sunday, October 24, 2010
Cliff Lee will pitch on eight days' rest
By Jeff Caplan ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- By the time Texas Rangers left-hander Cliff Lee takes the mound for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday evening in San Francisco, eight days will have passed since he threw an eight-inning gem to beat the New York Yankees.
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The Yankees speculated that their long delay after sweeping the AL Division Series could have been a key contributor to CC Sabathia's tough start in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series against Texas. Is Rangers manager Ron Washington concerned?
"With Cliff Lee," Washington said Sunday. "I have no concerns about anything."
Nor does Lee.
"I was preparing to potentially pitch [Game 7 on Saturday], so I had been on my routine like that, and now obviously I'm pitching the first game," Lee said Sunday. "So, I'm just going to make the adjustment and push it back a couple of days. But, yeah, it's not that big of a deal."
On Sunday, Lee threw a bullpen session and took some batting practice in preparation for having to hit in Game 1. Lee stressed that all is normal, and history suggests he should know what he's talking about. Last season with the Philadelphia Phillies, he had nine days between his last start in the NLCS and his Game 1 start in the World Series. Lee threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts.
Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner with the Cleveland Indians, will likely put his unblemished career postseason record (7-0, 1.26 ERA) up against two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum in the opener. Two of Lee's victories came in the 2009 World Series against the Yankees.
"I'm excited, anxious to get it started," Lee said. "It's the Giants, they've got a good team. It's going to be a good challenge. I feel like if we pick up where we left off these last couple series and play the game the way we've been playing, then we'll be all right."
Lee is excited about the opportunity to hit.
"Obviously that's the hardest thing in all sports, to hit a round ball with a round bat. ... It's the funnest part of the game as far as I'm concerned," Lee said. "When you think of baseball, that's what you think of, trying to get a hit. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy pitching, but as far as the straight challenge of it, hitting is the hardest thing and the most challenging. I enjoy that kind of stuff."
A .132 hitter in his 68 regular-season at-bats in a career spent mostly in the American League, Lee was 1-for-3 in last year's World Series. He hit .273 (3-for-11) in the postseason for the Phillies.
Washington wouldn't say which order he would start Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson in Games 2 and 3. Also undetermined is whether Tommy Hunter, 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in two playoff appearances, will start Game 4 or be replaced in the rotation by Derek Holland.
Jeff Caplan covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.