Cliff Lee pitched another masterpiece last night as the Rangers won game 3 of the ALCS 8-0.
The game was actually much closer than the final score indicated as Andy Pettitte and Lee became embroiled in an old time pitchers duel. Pettitte made one mistake in the first by putting a ball out over the plate to Josh Hamilton, who almost effortlessly extended his arms and delivered the ball into the right field bleachers. Those two runs were all Lee would need to fire him up.
Let’s get down to some numbers. Lee is 6-0 in postseason play, with a 1.44 ERA in those games. The key to his game is control: HE DOES NOT WALK HITTERS. “No pitcher in the last 70 years has thrown so many innings and yet walked so few,” quotes the New York Times. Lee is only the third pitcher since 1900 to walk fewer than twenty, while throwing more than two hundred innings.
Watching the guy pitch is like watching a good (fast paced movie). He gets the ball from the catcher, wipes some rosin on his cap, and delivers the ball. His mechanics to the plate are remarkably consistent with every delivery. Lee paints the corners and changes speeds like nobody since future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.
We may get lucky enough to watch him again in game 6 or 7.