2010 ALDS: Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Rangers lead series, 1-0
Game 1: Rangers 5 - Rays 1
Cliff Lee: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 1.29 ERA
Cliff Lee is dominant in Game 1 against the Rays!
Ok. Haven't we heard this before?
Lee has now improved his career postseason record to 5-0 in 6 starts. Last year he was 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA and 2-0 in the World Series. So basically today, Cliff Lee was being Cliff Lee.
Lee's dominant performance helped the Rangers win their second ever postseason game and snap a 9-game postseason losing streak.
And Lee also did another amazing thing today--
He pitched his second postseason game where he has had at least 10 strikeouts and 0 walks. He also did it in Game 1 of the World Series last year. Amazingly, it has only been done 4 times in major league postseason history. Twice by Lee, once by Sterling Hitchcock of the San Diego Padres in the 1998 NLDS against the Houston Astros and once by Deacon Phillippe of the Pittsburgh Pirates way back in 1903.
Here's a look at the four occurrences:
1) Cliff Lee - 7.0 IP, 10 strikeouts, 0 walks - Today against the Rays (ALDS)
2) Cliff Lee- 9.0 IP, 10 strikeouts, 0 walks - Game 1, 2009 World Series
3) Sterling Hitchcock - 6.0 IP, 11 strikeouts, 0 walks - Game 4, 1998 NLDS
4) Deacon Phillippe - 9.0 IP, 10 strikeouts, 0 walks - Game 1, 1903 World Series
What's even more amazing, Phillippe did it in the first ever World Series game and 107 years since then, only Lee has done it in the World Series and now joins Hitchcock as the only pitchers to do it in the earlier rounds of the playoffs. Amazing.
I guess sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
Cliff Lee photos courtesy of Getty Images