Cliff Lee gets high marks from Ryan
Rangers president marvels at left-hander's postseason
So far this postseason, Cliff Lee is drawing comparisons to Sandy Koufax and praise from Nolan Ryan, who happens to be the Rangers president and a Hall of Famer.
Lee allowed just two singles in eight innings in American League Championship Series Game 3 against the Yankees on Monday night, becoming the first pitcher to reach double digits in strikeouts three times in one postseason. He's 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in eight postseason starts.
"You hate to say that's what your expectation is of him, but that's what it is because he's been so consistent that way," Ryan told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "He's the most consistent pitcher I've ever seen."
Cain puts in the work to find success: Matt Cain gave the Giants their seventh quality start in seven playoff games in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
"You couldn't have asked him to do any better," closer Brian Wilson told the San Jose Mercury News. "Putting nerves aside, pounding the strike zone -- that's what he does. That's the way he carries himself, the way he works hard.
"When we get into Philly at 8:30 at night, he's out there running stadium [stairs]. That's why he does well."
C.J. Wilson's Game 5 start could be historic: C.J. Wilson has turned into a big-game pitcher in the second half and his biggest game yet is his Game 5 start on Wednesday afternoon in which he has a chance to help put the Rangers in the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
"I kind of got in a groove over the All-Star break," Wilson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Mentally, I was thinking about stuff. I said this is it. It's getting toward crunch time. I have to consolidate, and I did."
Blanton not concerned with extra rest: Though he hasn't pitched since a relief appearance on Oct. 3, Joe Blanton didn't anticipate any rust Wednesday night against the Giants.
"This time of year, it's not that hard," Blanton told MLB.com. "I had a long time between starts earlier in the year when I had that oblique injury. So it's not something that I haven't done before. To really keep yourself ready, you just have to get a lot of mound work in between, really. Just make sure you're getting those reps off the hill and working on all your pitches and keeping your mechanics real sound and solid."
Hamilton continues first-inning attack: After walking five times in the first two games of the ALCS, Josh Hamilton didn't waste the pitch he could hit during his first at-bat in Game 3. The left-handed slugger hit a two-run homer, giving the Rangers all the runs they needed in an 8-0 win.
"I could lie and say I was looking for that pitch," Hamilton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I was not looking for that pitch. It was one of those things where I just got the barrel on the ball and caught it out front, and it went out."
Hamilton, who also homered in the first inning in Game 1, is the 10th player to have multiple first-inning homers in a postseason series. He then added two more home runs Tuesday night in Game 4 to lead the Rangers to a 10-3 victory.
Renteria, Rowand put experience to use: Edgar Renteria and Aaron Rowand both have World Series experience. They showed their postseason prowess in Game 3 of the NLCS when they produced leadoff hits and came around to score to give the Giants an early lead.
"I would say when I'm not playing, I still can do something to win ballgames," Renteria told the San Jose Mercury News. "I always pay attention to what teammates are doing at home plate. So if they do something wrong that I can correct, I just tell them."
"I'm a little biased because I love Edgar," Rowand said. "You're not going to find a better professional, a better guy. I told him when we clinched the NL West I consider it a real privilege to have played with him for a couple of years. He's brought a lot to this team whether he's playing or not. The guy doesn't miss anything."
Moreland takes advantage of starting gig: Mitch Moreland, given the start at first base in Game 3 of the ALCS, hit a two-run single in the ninth inning as part of a six-run rally by the Rangers.
"I just have to be ready at any time," Moreland told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm excited and ready whenever. It boosts the confidence of anybody when you get an opportunity like this. No nerves."
Jeter working his way up the record books: Derek Jeter surpassed former teammate Bernie Williams for the most runs scored in League Championship Series play on Tuesday night and also set a new standard for doubles in postseason play. Jeter, however, wasn't in a mood to celebrate after the Yankees lost to Texas, 10-3, in Game 4 of to fall behind the Rangers, 3-1, in the series.
"We're trying to win games," Jeter told MLB.com. "To be honest with you, it's kind of hard to sit here and feel good about anything."
Jeter needs only three hits to tie Manny Ramirez (59) for the most all-time LCS hits. Jeter played in his 50th career LCS game on Monday, surpassing Ramirez on the all-time list.
Ross makes an impression on Hamels: Cody Ross is hitting .444 in the LCS and .368 in the postseason.
"He's definitely hot," Hamels told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He's been hitting pitches that most normal people can't hit at this time."
Javier Lopez gives Giants an added boost: Javier Lopez, acquired in a deadline deal from the Pirates, has become one of the Giants' top setup men in the postseason.
"He's certainly been a shot in the arm for this club," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News. "Not just in the playoffs, but getting here. We worked him pretty hard there, and he's just been terrific."
"He does such a great job changing arm angles and speed," teammate Buster Posey said of Lopez. "He's around the plate so much. He's really a fun guy for me to catch. He gives batters such a different look."
Hanley Ramirez aiming higher in 2011: Hanley Ramirez vowed to improve on his 2010 numbers -- a .300 batting average with 21 home runs -- next season.
"He'll probably tell you at times he had down times he wasn't accustomed to and that happens," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "He played a good shortstop, and he can just do a lot of things. Sometimes we lose some appreciation for the impact of the player in total, the way he can run, the way he can command a game. At times he can just take over because of his talent, and that's pretty special."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.