I know this is a Phillies blog but once in a while, there are other things going on in the baseball world that deserve recognition. If you’re a true baseball fan, you’ll be tuned into tonight’s match-up between the Yankees and Rangers in game three of the ALCS.
Tonight’s game is more than just an important battle in New York with the series tied at one. Former Phillie Cliff Lee, who like he was in Philadelphia last season, is the mid-season savior for the Rangers. His second-half performance helped lead the Rangers into the post season and to the franchise’s first ever playoff series win so far this season.
But the Rangers path to their first ever World Series appearance has to go through New York, a franchise that’s won 27 world championships and has played in 40 World Series.
Taking the hill against Lee is arguably one of the greatest playoff pitchers in baseball history: Andy Pettitte. Pettitte is a five-time world champion and has won a record 19 playoff games and has clinched a record six series.
This has been an interesting season for Pettitte, who missed time from the end of July until midway into September with a groin injury. In fact, this will only be Pettitte’s fifth start coming off rehab.
Pettitte still had a fantastic season, going 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts. He averaged a little less than 6 1/3 innings per start, but partly due to leaving the game early in July with an injury and with not pitching on a full tank due to coming off the groin injury.
In Pettitte’s lone playoff start against the Minnesota Twins, he allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings. In Lee’s two starts, he absolutely dominated the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing only two runs in 16 innings pitched and striking out 21. He pitched a complete game in game five to seal their spot in the ALCS.
Lee is 3-0 this year against the Yankees with a 3.09 ERA in 23 1/3 innings while walking four and striking out 18. He threw a complete game in his only start in Yankee Stadium, allowing four runs, three earned on June 29 when he was still in Seattle.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Lee, who beat the Yankees twice last World Series when with the Phillies, could work his magic again against the Bronx Bombers.
EXTRA — Read Adam McCalvry’s article on Cole Hamels on the Phillies website. It talks about Hamels chasing the same post season success as Pettitte. An excerpt from the article:
Count Hamels as a fan of the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte.
“I just want to have his postseason career,” Hamels said. “That would be great. … That’s something special right there.”