Cliff Lee: Looking forward, looking back.
So you know what
else this Cliff-Lee-every-fifth-day schedule means?
He’s in line to
pitch on Monday night, September 20, the opener of what could be a huge
three-game set in Anaheim.
And on Thursday night,
September 30, the first game of the season-ending, four-game series against the
Angels in Rangers Ballpark.
And his next day to
pitch would be Tuesday, October 5 . . . which ought to be when the playoffs kick
A week and a half ago,
when the Yankees were thought to be on the doorstep of landing Lee, it was speculated
that the club was also working on a counterpart deal that would send righthander
Javier Vazquez elsewhere (Philadelphia for Jayson Werth?) because of New York’s
rotation depth. The Yankees already had
C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, and Vazquez, and someone
was going to have to go to make room for Lee.
Think about what would
have happened if Jon Daniels had waited another week and a half to close a deal
with Seattle – or maybe more to the point, if Jack Zduriencik had been more
patient. Pettitte strained a groin
muscle today and is now out for more than a month, and Burnett cut his pitching
hand slamming a clubhouse door shut yesterday.
Think Brian Cashman would have said no today, as he reportedly
did when Cliff Lee was still a Mariner, to Zduriencik’s ask of shortstop
Eduardo Nunez along with catcher Jesus Montero?
If you were a Mariners fan, would you want to know the answer to that
As a Rangers fan, of course, I’m glad we’ll never know. Texas may have lost both Lee starts since his
arrival, but I don’t remember the last Rangers starter I had more confidence
Another thing: If New York now renews efforts to find a
starting pitcher (Ted Lilly?), it could take up resources that might otherwise have
been earmarked for a hitter like Ty Wigginton or Wes Helms that the Rangers are
A few days ago I wrote about
how crummy the Angels must have felt losing a game in the standings to Texas
during a stretch in which the Rangers dropped seven of 10.
How do you think they feel now, getting the sad-sack
Mariners at home for four coming out of the Break, while the Rangers were off
to Boston, where they’ve been terrible for two and a half seasons, for four
games of their own – and not gaining any ground, as both Los Angeles and Texas
won three times, each falling one extra-inning loss short of a sweep?
It’s another almost impossible story line for Texas: the
Rangers lose the Cliff Lee start in Fenway Park, and still win the series.
When the Angels come here for four on Thursday, they’ll do
so without Ranger-killer Scott Kazmir, who has landed on the disabled list with
shoulder fatigue. But before that, Texas
– now listed by Bodog as the third most likely World Series champion in
baseball (behind the Yankees and Rays) – visits Detroit for three, a second straight
appointment at a house of recent horrors for this club.
But the Rangers keep pointing out in 2010 that history may
not be all that instructive this year.
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(c) Jamey Newberg