By now, we all know the greatness of Cliff Lee, especially in the postseason. Until his command wavered in Game 1 of the World Series, he was undefeated in eight postseason starts. But now the Rangers are in an 0-2 hole that not many people expected to see heading back home to Arlington.
And, the Rangers have their postseason savior going, and that's not an exaggeration.
Colby Lewis will start on the hill for the Rangers tonight. He's 2-0 in this postseason with a 1.45 ERA and arguably the two biggest wins this postseason by a Rangers pitcher — well, I guess Lee's Game 5 win over Tampa Bay would be a contender too.
But every time the Rangers have had their backs against the wall this postseason, Colby Lewis has been the man.
After the confidence shattering (or would should have been confidence shattering) Game 1 loss in the ALCS to the Yankees, in which the Rangers blew a 5-1 lead in the eighth inning, Lewis came back in Game 2 and was dominant, even though he didn't make it through 6 innings, in leading the Rangers to their first of three straight wins in the series.
After the Yankees won their next game of the series in Game 5, the Rangers came back home with the ace in the hole of having Lee in their back pocket for Game 7 if needed. But it wasn't needed.
Lewis toed the rubber in Game 6 and tossed an absolute gem, going 8 innings, allowing three hits and one run on a phantom "wild pitch" that was actually a hit by pitch on Nick Swisher. He struck out seven batters and walked just three, as walks have been one of his draw backs this year. He struck out the side in the top of the eighth, looking the best he had all game and was simply masterful as the Rangers clinched the AL pennant and saved Lee for Game 1 of the World Series.
Now, the Rangers' backs are against the wall again, and Colby is at home, where he's won his last two starts.
Conversely, the Giants will start Jonathan Sanchez, who has a no-hitter to his credit and has scary, scary stuff when he's on. But he can get rattled easily and is pretty combustible. The Rangers need to be patient with him and make him throw pitches. He will make mistakes. He lasted just innings in his last start in the NLCS against the Phillies.
Finally, the Rangers get to have their actual lineup in the game today for the first time this series, DH and all. Now, they're going to have to find a way to win games without a DH because they'll have to win at least one game in San Francisco to win this series, and that's if they sweep in Arlington.
As far as the Rangers are concerned, the Series starts today. They just have to win 4 out of 5 now instead of 4 out of 7. It can be done. It's time.