Cliff Lee dominated the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the 2010 ALCS. With the Texas Rangers needing a win in front of the rambunctious New York crowd, Lee came in and absolutely dominated the Yankees. After Lee was forced to pitch in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, he became unavailable in the first two games of the 2010 American League Championship Series. It then gave the Rangers a nice ace in the hole when it came to Game 3, and Lee proved that he is worth every penny that he has been paid to play baseball this year.
To say that Lee has been outstanding this postseason is an understatement, because what he did to the New York Yankees lineup on Monday night may be considered a crime in some states. Lee went eight innings, allowing just two hits and one walk on his way to the victory. Lee struck out 11 batters during his 122-pitch outing, and the final score doesn’t even come close to measuring the stressful atmosphere in Game 3. The Rangers gave him a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but it wasn’t until the ninth inning that they added more runs to put the game out of reach for good.
Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, and Curtis Granderson all struck out multiple times against Lee, with Jeter registering three strikeouts on the night. Two singles were all that the Yankees could manage on Monday, and the highest-paid team in baseball looked like a group of Little League players trying to keep up with Lee’s pitch selection on Monday. Maybe the best thing to come out of this night was the large smile that could be seen on Lee’s face after a few key plays in the later innings, a small piece of evidence that this pitcher throwing with robot-like precision is actually human after all.
In three postseason starts for the Texas Rangers, Lee is now 3-0 in 24 innings. He has given up only 13 hits while striking out 34, and he has an ERA of just 0.75. Opponents are only hitting .151 against him, and he is averaging just one base runner every two innings. It is a remarkable stretch of success that continues from the 2009 postseason with the Philadelphia Phillies, and has many people stating that Lee is currently the best pitcher in baseball. There isn’t a real argument to refute that statement right now, especially with how well he dominated one of the best lineups baseball has seen in a while.