Lee proves he is human after all
Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As I was watching Cliff Lee in the fifth inning of San Francisco's 11-7 win on Wednesday I couldn't help but think of the scene in Rocky IV when Rocky finally gets to Ivan Drago and his cornerman yells out, "You see? He's not a machine, he's a man!"
In one short inning Lee went from being Sandy Koufax to A.J. Burnett.
"I think everybody is surprised -- because everybody thinks he's a machine," Lee's catcher, Benjie Molina said.
Maybe the Burnett comparison is a little harsh, but it was crazy when people were comparing him to Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson too. Lee is a great pitcher, one of the best in the game today, but is he an all-time great? Sorry I just don't see it. Perhaps his minor league demotion in 2007 is still fresh in my mind.
He was due to have a bad start at some point. Nobody is that good.
Now with all that said, there is no way I would have ever guessed that it would have been the offensively challenged San Francisco Giants to be the team to knock Lee around.
Cliff Lee entered the game an unblemished 7-0 lifetime in the postseason.
"Early in the game, I wasn't locating well," Lee said. "I was a little erratic trying to find it. I couldn't be consistent. It was a little bit of everything. I was up, I was down, I was in, I was out. They were swinging the bat well. That's in a nutshell what happened."
The Giants battered Lee, who entered the game an unblemished 7-0 lifetime in the postseason with the third best ERA ever at 1.24, for seven runs -- six earned -- on eight hits with seven strikeouts and one walk over just 4 2/3 frames.
"I threw a ton of pitches in the fifth inning," Lee added. I have to a better job of damage control there. Seven at-bats, six runs ... that's unacceptable."
Prior to Wednesday's loss Lee had yielded two earned runs in 24 innings of his three starts in these playoffs, while striking out 34 hitters with a walk.
"We're used to him dominating and all that, so when he has an off day like today, he probably feels the pain," Molina said. "Everybody makes a big deal. It's sad, but we're human."
You see? Cliff Lee is not a machine, he's a man. One who is going to be very rich in a few weeks even with this loss in Game 1.
GUERRERO STRUGGLES IN THE FIELD
Texas' defense was no help either in Game 1 on Wednesday, as the Rangers became the first team in six years to commit four errors in a World Series contest.
Two of those errors were committed by Vladimir Guerrero in the eighth inning when the Giants pushed their lead to 11-4. The Rangers managed to score three times in the ninth, but the game was already out of reach following what happened in the previous frame.
"We made four errors and I had two of them, but what happened has happened," said Guerrero. "I can't hang my head. We'll see what happens tomorrow."
Guerrero, of course, served as the Rangers' designated hitter for the majority of the season, but with the game being held in the National League park he had to play the field, something he did only 18 times during the regular season.
Despite the fact that he hit .300 and led the team with 115 RBI, Rangers manager Ron Washington may opt to use his aging slugger off the bench in Game 2 and start Jeff Francoeur in the field.
"I can't tell you if I am playing or not," Guerrero said. "I'll wait for the next game and I'll find out then."
Someone mentioned this note to me on Wednesday:
Since 1984 teams that have clinched a pennant on the road and have had home field advantage in the World Series are 11-0 to win it all. Conversely, teams that have clinched the pennant at home and don't have home field advantage in that time are 0-7 in their World Series appearances.
I guess that means the Giants are on their way to a World Series title.
LOOKING AHEAD TO GAME 2
Matt Cain will try to help the Giants become the first National League team to win the first two games of the World Series since the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks this evening.
After surrendering just an unearned run in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision in the NLDS, Cain yielded two hits over seven scoreless innings to beat the Phillies in the NLCS.
"He's commanding his fastball, and his secondary pitches, he's throwing strikes and he?s getting it where he wants," Bochy said.
The bulky right-hander, who was 13-11 with a 3.14 ERA in 33 starts this season, has only faced the Rangers once and received a no-decision, but pitched well giving up a run and three hits with eight strikeouts back in 2009.
"You like Cainer against pretty much anybody," said catcher Buster Posey. "The guy goes out and competes every time, and I don't think we'll see anything less than that."
Hoping to get the Rangers even tonight will be left-hander C.J. Wilson, who is 1-1 this postseason with a 3.93 ERA. Wilson was roughed up by the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS, as he allowed six runs (five earned) and six hits in five innings.
"I still feel like this year is incomplete," Wilson said. "We're here to complete the season, and that's the goal we've had the whole way."
Wilson was a pleasant surprise for Texas this season transitioning from reliever to starter and going 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA. Tonight's start, though, will be his first against the Giants.
"It's like the exact opposite of Yankee Stadium," said Wilson of pitching in San Francisco. "Yankee Stadium is like 310 [feet] down the lines and 340 in the gaps. It's like you sneeze on a ball, break a bat, and it's out. This place, you really have to hit the ball better. It's much more of a pitcher's ballpark."