ALCS 2010: Texas Rangers' Cliff Lee the Greatest Postseason Pitcher of All Time?
It's fitting that in what became "The Year of the Pitcher," we would see fantastic post-season pitching up to this point of the playoffs. Were you really that surprised that Roy Halladay fired a no-hitter in his first post-season appearance? If not, you couldn't have been that surprised that Tim Lincecum threw a two-hit shutout, striking out 14 in his first post-season start.
We've seen more great pitching as well. Matt Cain delivered a lights out outing yesterday afternoon. We've also seen the likes of Cole Hamels, Phil Hughes, and Roy Oswalt step up and pitch fantastic games at one time or another this post-season. However, with all of their collective efforts, none of them are in the same league as the Rangers Cliff Lee when it comes to post-season dominance.
Just look at Lee's mind blowing numbers this post-season. To this point in the 2010 playoffs, the Rangers ace has thrown 24 innings, allowing only two earned runs. Opponents are hitting a mere .151 off of Lee. Still not impressed? How about Lee's 34 strikeouts to only one walk. I know, how did he ever walk one? The guy has lousy control. Lee's 3-0 by the way, winning Game 1 of the ALDS when he out-pitched David Price. He also won the clinching game of the ALDS when he out-dueled Price once again. Even more impressive was the outing Lee just turned in in Game 3 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium.
This begs the question, is Lee the greatest post-season pitcher of all-time? There is a very small list of pitchers that have dominated in October. Until Lee came along, only Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, Jack Morris, John Smoltz, and Curt Schilling were on that list. I'd even give guys like Dave Stewart and Randy Johnson some consideration, but none of those guys are doing what Lee is currently doing.
Maybe Lee's name should be pencilled in at the top of that list.
It's not just a one year sample from Lee. After his 4-0 performance last year for the Phillies, Lee is now 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA, allowing only nine earned runs in eight career post-season games. Three complete games to go with 67 career post-season strike outs to only seven walks.
The guy is the definition of a work horse. Look up clutch performer in the dictionary and Lee's picture will be there.
You may agree to disagree on the topic of Lee being the greatest post-season pitcher in history, but the numbers are hard to argue against. He's definitely on one of the greatest runs of all-time.
You can choose whom ever you want. In a one game situation, bring on your guy. I'm giving the ball to Lee and I'm probably going to win.
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