The National League champion now gets a well-rested Lee twice in the first five games of the World Series. If Texas needed to use Lee in a Game 7 to get to the World Series, Lee would have been available to pitch two of the first six games and would have been coming off the grind of having started four times in the first two rounds.
Lee is a postseason legend (7-0, 1.26), so he is a difficult draw no matter what the circumstance. But this eight-day break for Lee since he pitched ALCS Game 3 is a boon for the Rangers.
Since version 2.0 of Lee emerged in 2008, he has started 12 times with six days of rest or more, including Game 1 of the 2009 World Series when he outpitched
So no matter who wins the NLCS, Lee looms as the dominant figure of the World Series, beginning with Game 1, when for a second straight year we are treated to an all-Cy pitching matchup. Lee either returns to Philadelphia to pitch against
It's the exact right denouement to the Year of the Pitcher. Lee is to the 2010 World Series plot line what
Just how impressive was that game by Lewis? It ranks among the greatest games ever thrown to eliminate the Yankees. Indeed, no pitcher ever eliminated the Yankees while giving them so few hits over at least eight innings. Here are the fewest hits allowed by a starter while eliminating New York (min: eight innings):
The pitching also broke down, but that represented a longer-term problem more than just a bad stretch of six games. New York's 2010 blueprint went awry long ago when starters
What hurt just as much, if not more, was the slow regression by
Hughes lost twice -- badly -- in the ALCS. In his final nine starts of the year, he was 3-5 with a 6.02 ERA. Last year, the Yankees got by without having any good fourth option in their postseason rotation. This year they couldn't come up with a good third option.
Chamberlain, meanwhile, has devolved from a lights-out setup reliever and the heir to
The ALCS turned on two key intersections: in Game 4 when manager
When the Yankees needed them most, Burnett, Vazquez, Hughes and Chamberlain were not there. Hughes, 24, and Chamberlain, 25, are still young enough to become big-time pitchers; the time for that just had not arrived yet this postseason.
To fix the pitching problem, the Yankees have one goal: to overwhelm Lee with money the way they did Sabathia. It probably will work, too. If not, however, Plan B is far less obvious. No other top pitcher will be available on the free agent market, and so the Yankees would have to ship off some of their best young players to acquire a pitcher such as
San Francisco has held Philadelphia to just three home runs and a .209 batting average, so every 90-foot advancement for the Phillies takes on more significance in the run-depressed environment. Besides, the Phillies somehow look like a much more dangerous team when Rollins gets on base and can draw the attention of the pitcher and defenders.
But Manuel opened a window into his lineup construction ideas when he explained that he didn't like being moved around an order as a player.
"I remember my manager sometimes when I was playing and especially in Japan or in Triple-A baseball when I played every day and my manager," Manuel said, "if I'm hitting third or fourth and I got used to hitting in one position, he'd move me to five or six. Yeah, I'd get upset. That would bother me. I would never tell him that, and I used to think it had something to do with how I thought and things like that.
"We're a creature of habit and routines play a big part on them. That's why you have it. Pitchers are the same way."