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Cliff Lee tries to save Rangers' season

By Dave Sheinin

So, Cliff Lee takes the mound in Game 5 of the World Series tonight, in his home park, with his team trailing three games to one, desperately trying to send the series back to the other guys' place. If it sounds familiar, it's because the same scenario arose last year, when Lee was pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Yankees.

In that one, Lee did the job, barely -- giving up five earned runs (and quite uncharacteristically, three walks) in seven innings, as the Phillies won, 8-6. But the real reason Lee won was because his pitching opponent was A.J. Burnett, who was pitching on three days' rest and who was terrible (two innings, four hits, four walks, six earned runs). And as we all know, the Yankees won Game 6 two days later to clinch the World Series title.

Tonight, if Lee duplicates his performance from Game 5 in 2009, you have to figure the Texas Rangers' season is over. His opponent tonight is San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum, who outpitched Lee (okay, neither of them was very good) in Game 1.

It is useful to recall just how close Lincecum came to shutting down the Rangers in that game. In the top of the sixth inning, he was working on a string of three consecutive strikeouts, the last two of which put him in a comfortable spot, with two outs and nobody on. But then he walked Ian Kinsler, and it all unraveled for Lincecum. Three straight hits led to a pair of Rangers runs, and Lincecum was yanked.

I fully expect Lincecum to be better tonight. And I fully expect Lee to be better, as well. Maybe this will be the epic game this World Series so far has lacked.

By Dave Sheinin  | November 1, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
 
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Comments

Stick a fork in the Rangers. They're done.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | November 1, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Between Lee and Neftali Feliz is a very questionable bullpen.

Say goodnight, Texas.

Posted by: edbyronadams | November 1, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

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