The Stat Line of the Night — 10/12/10 — Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball over the last few years, if not the most dominant, and he went out and showed it once again in a deciding Game 5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers acquired Lee for just this type of stage, so they could have an ace on hand to help them win big playoff games. Lee’s gem allowed the Texas Rangers to win their first ever post-season series.
Cliff Lee seemingly could not make a mistake last night. He tossed 9 innings of 1-run ball. The Rays were able to scatter 6 hits over the 9 innings but it was only enough to muster 1 run, far short of the 5 runs the Rangers would score in support of Lee. Lee was able to locate his pitches with ease as 89 of his 120 pitches went for strikes and he did not allow a single walk. He also struck out 11. The key to his success was his ability to get ahead early in counts, throwing 22 of his 33 first pitches for strikes.
Now the Rangers advance to the ALCS, a position they have never been in before, to face the stacked New York Yankees. Without Lee this team would have very little chance of success, but having a big-game pitcher like him should make them confident. For now, Lee wins the “Stat Line of the Night”, but the bigger prize of a pennant and possibility of a World Series ring is now in his sights.