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Rangers win first ever postseason series, advance to ALCS vs. Yanks

Oct 12, 2010, 11:32 PM EDT

Roy Halladay made history last week, but Cliff Lee continues to rule the postseason.

Lee struck out 11 in a 5-1 victory over the Rays in Game 5 tonight, giving the Rangers their first ever postseason series victory and a date with the Yankees in the ALCS.

The Rangers held a 3-1 lead going into the top of the ninth inning, but Ian Kinsler provided some breathing room with a two-run shot off Rays closer Rafael Soriano. Lee got Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton in order as the Rays went down without much of a fight in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Lee tossed a season-high 120 pitches in the win. He allowed just two runs over 16 innings during the series (1.13 ERA), posting a ridiculous 21/0 K/BB ratio, improving to 6-0 with 1.43 ERA in seven career postseason starts. He’s a postseason cyborg.

Keep in mind that because Lee was needed in Game 5 tonight, C.J. Wilson will oppose CC Sabathia in Game 1 of the ALCS in Arlington on Friday night. Colby Lewis is likely to get the assignment in Game 2, allowing Cliff Lee to pitch on regular rest for Game 3 next Monday.

And what can you say about the Rays? They managed to win the American League East and secure home-field advantage, but lost all three games at the Trop and were held to just two runs along the way. That’s what out-of-this-world pitching will do to you. Now they are faced with an offseason where Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano are all likely to sign elsewhere.

  1. Giant Space Ants - Oct 12, 2010 at 11:52 PM

    BOO-YEAH!

  2. APBA Guy - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:15 AM

    Great series. Cliff Lee was the difference maker. But the Rangers will have to play a lot better to get by the Yankees. The Rangers have 3 essential concerns-play the Yankees even in all non-Lee starts; get Hamilton’s timing back; get some production out of RF.
    For the Rays, this off-season will be a time of great reflection. They’ll lose Crawford and Soriano, two essential components. They could also lose Pena. That will give them some payroll flexibility, but hopefully, they’ll get improved play from enough guys (Jennings, Zobrist) to use the money they will have in their budget to add wisely. Hopefully Price will work on his slider. Right now his FB is better than Brett Anderson by 2 mph, and probably always will be. But Anderson throws a much better hard slider, and that pitch makes a big difference in tight games against good teams.

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