Lee so good even Charlie's a little surprised
Better than even his manager, Charlie Manuel, figured he would ever be.
“When we got him, I knew he was good. I had seen him before. But if you want to know the truth, I didn’t know he was as good as he’s been,’’ Manuel said after the game and note that the Philadelphia manager didn’t trust his shaky bullpen, even with a 6-0 lead in the ninth, Lee at 105 pitches and the Yankee bullpen reduced to ragtag status once again.
Lee, obtained form Cleveland in a mid-season trade for just this kind of performance, struck out 10m walked zero and gave up only four hits through eight innings before allowing two hits and an unearned run in the ninth. He departed after throwing 122 pitches. If Manuel is tempted to use him in Game Four on short rest – and how could he not be? – he didn’t act that way.
“We’ll see how it goes,’’ Manuel said. “I mean, we’ll just see where we’re at. We’ve got time.’’
More important, they have home-field advantage now and the Yankees are in almost a must-win situation Thursday with A.J. Burnett, not exactly Mr. Clutch, throwing Game Two for the home side. Burnett has been pretty good in his home post-season starts, but both times that was carrying a 1-0 series lead courtesy of C.C. Sabathia, who was good Wednesday, yielding only a pair of solo homers to Chase Utley, but was nowhere near as good as Lee, who looked like Mr. Cool all night, fielding with aplomb in addition to pitching with precision.
“About being cool or whatever, I’ve always been that way. This is the same game I’ve been playing my whole life and this is the stage I’ve wanted to be on since I was a little kid,’’ Lee said. “Now that I’m here, I’ve already put the work in (so) there’s no sense in being nervous and worried. It’s time to go out there and let my talents and my skills take over and execute my pitches.’’
He did that with all of them, a sweet change-up and well-behaved cut fastball and down-breaking curve ball. Derek Jeter had three hits, but the middle of the Yankee order was particularly clueless. Mark Teixeira was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and Alex Rodriguez was 0 for 4 with three whiffs.
“This whole lineup, you’ve got to be unpredictable. You’ve got to show them stuff they haven’t seen before. Mix speeds, mix locations and don’t get in patterns,’’ he said, making it sound as easy as he made it look.
That was a terrific lineup he completely stifled and while it is only one game, does anybody still feel like lying $200 to win $100 on the Yankees? The odds have surely changed in this 105th World Series and it didn’t take long.