Saturday, October 30, 2010

...Cliff Lee

With games three and four of the 2010 World Series shifting to Texas, the Texas Rangers find themselves down two games to none against the San Francisco Giants. Colby Lewis is scheduled to start game three tonight for Texas.

Until getting hit around in the opening game of the series, Cliff Lee had a perfect 7-0 record in the postseason.

The Rangers need to win four of the next five games to win the World Series.

If the Rangers win game three, they will still be down two games to one. If they lose game three, they are one loss away from elimination. All indications point towards Rangers' pitcher Tommy Hunter pitching game four. Hunter had a good regular season - 13 win, 4 losses, 3.73 ERA - but has struggled in two postseason starts this year - 0-1, 6.14 ERA.

Apparently Cliff Lee doesn't feel comfortable pitching on three days rest.

Through the course of a 162 game regular season, I understand wanting your full four days rest. It is a long grind and you want to stay healthy.

But if you are arguably the best postseason pitcher of the last two seasons and one of the best pitchers in the game, I don't understand how if you are Cliff Lee, you don't want to pitch.

There is a competitive fire that has to burn deep within you to be successful in athletics. It is that fire that drives you to prepare in the off season. That competitiveness leads to success on the field and pain in defeat. But competitors take the pain of defeat and use it for motivation.

How does Cliff Lee not want the ball in game four?

He is in the World Series for the second straight year and is headed toward his second straight series defeat (last year he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies that lost to the New York Yankees). I'm not sure how the competitiveness that had undoubtedly made Cliff Lee great doesn't make him walk into Rangers' manager Ron Washington's office and ask to pitch game four.

Maybe Cliff Lee feels that pitching game five is the best thing for the team. Maybe he has more faith in Tommy Hunter than most. Maybe he doesn't want to hurt himself or his chances for his big contract in the off season.

Whatever the reason, depending on how game three goes, the Rangers may be relying on Tommy Hunter to save their season. At least they will have Cliff Lee ready to go in game five. They just better hope the series gets there.

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