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Time For Cliff Lee to Earn His Contract

And why the Rangers can still win this series

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the 2010 MLB World Series at AT&T Park on October 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    First off, I've been saying it since the postseason began, Cliff Lee should not throw on three days of rest.

    If Cliff Lee started on Sunday night, the Rangers' bats would've still been staggered by Madison Bumgarner and Cliff Lee likely would've lost. How would we be feeling today?

    Plus, it would've thrown off C.J. Wilson's and Colby Lewis' spots in the rotation too. Bad idea all around.

    Should Cliff Lee pitch in Game 7 if the Rangers can get there? No. Start Colby. Going on three days of rest is a thing of the past. In the past three postseasons, only nine pitchers have attempted to go on three days of rest, and they are a combined 3-4 with a 7.13 ERA (thanks to Norm Hitzges for his crackpot research).

    The Giants, behind their ace Tim Lincecum, can clinch the World Series tonight. The Rangers, behind their ace, can start the road toward the most improbable of improbable comebacks. The odds are stacked against the Rangers, no doubt. Two shutouts in four games? Are you kidding? In fact, the Rangers haven't scored a run that didn't come off a home run since Game 1, when they jumped on Lincecum early and scored one run in each of the first two innings. But the Giants jumped on Lee too, resulting in the postseason Jedi's shortest playoff outing of his career.

    You have to think Cliff Lee won't get hit like that again.

    If, and it is an "if", Lee can beat Lincecum tonight and prolong this thing back to San Francisco, you have two more one-game series to win, and the outlook wouldn't be all that negative.

    It's happened five times in MLB history. Teams down 3-1 in a best-of-7 World Series have come back to win the whole thing, the last being the 1985 Royals. Before that, it was new Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg's boyhood team, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Can the Rangers be the sixth team to pull off the feat?

    If Lee can get back to his old self, and the Rangers can hit Lincecum like they did in Game 1, the Rangers will go back to San Francisco for a C.J. Wilson-Matt Cain matchup in Game 6. Cain was phenomenal in San Francisco, and C.J. was great too but had to leave in the seventh inning after a blister on his finger ruptured. He claims to be OK. I'd give the slightest of edges in that matchup to Cain.

    The Rangers have to win three straight. They've done that (or more than three) 11 times this season.

    If Wilson could get it done, then you have Colbyashi going in Game 7 against Jonathan Sanchez, who Texas rocked in Game 3, with the possibility the Giants could run Game 4 star Madison Bumgarner back out on the hill. At that point, both teams would have all arms on deck, including Lee and Wilson. At that point, it's a toss-up. But if this thing goes 7 games, look out Giants. Just sayin'.

    Whatever happens tonight, it will be the final game in the Ballpark in 2010 and fans need to remember that, soak it in and realize what a ride this season has been. Enjoy it.