Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rangers Ravage Yanks, 8-0; Take 2-1 Lead in ALCS

Players of the Day for Monday June 18, 2010

American League

Andy Pettitte's 20th post-season win will have to wait another start, maybe another year.

With the record for most wins in post-season play secure, Andy Pettitte took the mound for the Yankees in game three of the NLCS. He pitched well, but, unfortunately for him, the guy on the mound for the Rangers pitched better, much, much better.

Cliff Lee extended his unbeaten post-season streak to seven games with a 2-hit shutout performance over eight innings for the 8-0 win and a 2-game-to-1 lead in the series. Lee has never lost a playoff or World Series game. The way he pitched last night, the streak looks very much like it will be extended even further.

New York couldn't even get a man to first base until lee walked Mark Teixeira with two outs in the 4th inning and didn't get a hit until Jorge Posada stroked a single with one out an inning later. By then, Lee had already fanned 10 Yankees en route to 13.

Brett Gardner led of the 6th inning with the only other hit off Lee. He stole second and advanced to third on a Nick Swisher ground-out, but was stranded when Teixeira grounded out to short. Lee finished his eight innings getting the last nine batters he faced in order.

Texas struck for two first-inning runs on Josh Hamilton's homer, but Pettitte didn't crack. That was all he'd allow through his seven innings. Texas finally broke through in the 9th, scorching Yankee relievers Boone Logan and David Robinson for six runs, allowing Lee to retire and leave the mop-up to Neftali Feliz, who worked a perfect inning in a non-save situation.

With a 2-1 lead heading into game four, the Rangers appear a confident bunch, and well they should be with the prospect of A.J. Burnett getting the start for the Yankees on Tuesday.

After a 6-2 start through the end of May, Burnett pitched the rest of the season like he was being paid on the sly by the Red Sox, going 4-13 the rest of the way. From the start of June, the Yankees won just five of Burnett's 22 starts as his ERA ballooned from 3.28 to 5.26. In 10 of those starts, Burnett never made it to the sixth inning.

The Ranges will send up Tommy Hunter, who was 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA during the regular season. Hunter gives the Yankees hope. He didn't start his season until June, but recorded wins in his first eight decisions. Since then, he's tailed off, going 5-4. He only made it into the 6th inning in two of his final seen starts, plus he only lasted four innings in the Rangers' 5-2 less in game four of the NLDS against Tampa Bay.

The redeeming quality for the Rangers is that their bullpen is well-rested should Hunter falter early. First pitch is slated for 8:07 pm ET Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

National League

The Phillies and Giants will untie their deadlock beginning 4:19 pm ET in game three of the NLCS at San Francisco. Strong pitching performances are expected from both starters, Cole Hamel for Philadelphia and Matt Cain for the Giants.

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