Decision not to start Cliff Lee in Game 4 could doom Rangers
The Rays scored just one run through the first 23 innings of this series, then scored six in the final four innings of Game 3 to stave off elimination. That changes everything. If the Rays have found themselves at the plate, we have a series on our hands, particularly with
Were Lee to start today, the Rangers would greatly increase their chances of wrapping up this series without having to return to Florida to face
As for the pitching matchup we
Davis's season took the opposite course, with him struggling early, then going 7-1 with a 3.22 ERA in his final 13 starts, nine of them quality and one of them rain-shortened. Davis was also the lone member of the Rays' postseason rotation to have a lower ERA on the road than at home during the regular season. In his lone start in Arlington this season, he gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings, but that was back on June 4 and was his last disaster start of the season.
The Braves' comeback win in Game 2 has swung this series in their favor as they now return home to Atlanta and send their ace, Hudson, to the mound. Hudson, the National League's Comeback Player of the Year, struggled down the stretch, going 2-4 with a 5.32 ERA over his final seven starts, but his last two regular season outings were solid. In the penultimate one, he held the Marlins to one run over six innings, and in his final start, with the Braves battling for a playoff spot on the final day of the season, he held the Phillies to just two hits over seven innings, though thanks to a hit by pitch and a walk, those two hits, both home runs, plated four runs. Prior to September, Hudson was 15-5 with a 2.24 ERA including two strong starts against the Giants, the more recent coming at home on August 7. In that start, Hudson held San Francisco scoreless on a walk and three hits over eight innings.
Sanchez also came up big on the final day of the season with his team battling for a postseason berth. Sanchez held the Padres scoreless on three hits over five innings that day, adding a triple at the plate that led to the game's first run. That marked Sanchez's seventh straight start in which he allowed no more than two runs. He went 4-1 with a 1.03 ERA over that stretch, striking out 48 men in 43 2/3 innings, albeit with considerable fortune on balls in play. Sanchez didn't fare as well in his lone start in Atlanta this year, giving up four runs in four innings on five hits, two of them homers, and three walks on August 8 against a lineup that not only lacked
Friday night's comeback woke up the Braves' bats, made
Watching the Twins go down meekly against the Yankees Saturday night makes one wonder just how often teams are defeated between the ears before they lose between the lines. After blowing leads in each of the first two games of the ALCS, the Twins' history of playoff failures, particularly those that have come against the Yankees, not to mention their overall struggles against the Yankees in recent years (2-16 over the last two years, postseason combined, entering Saturday night's Game 3), seemed to defeat them before the Yankees did.
The same might be true of the Reds entering Game 3. The Reds were embarrassed in the Game 1, becoming just the second team ever to be no-hit in the postseason, and embarrassed themselves in Game 2, committing four errors, hitting three batters, and having one runner picked off first base. In the process, they blew a 4-0 fifth-inning lead by allowing five unearned runs and handing the loss to the pitcher who was supposed to be their bullpen's silver bullet,
Not only do the Reds have to overcome all of that mental and emotional baggage, but they have to go out and beat