Lee could start Game 6 on three days' rest

Game 3 starter Cliff Lee in on Texas

Game 3 starter Cliff Lee in on Texas now, but the Yankees will be in hot pursuit of him in the offseason. (Oct. 17, 2010) (Credit: AP)

Cliff Lee has never pitched on three days' rest in his entire major-league career. That could change this week.

According to a person familiar with the situation, the Rangers already have talked with Lee - who beat the Yankees, 8-0, in last night's American League Championship Series Game 3 - about pitching in Friday night's Game 6. The lefthander, who has appeared reluctant to pitch on short rest in the past, is open to the idea, the person said.

If the Yankees took a 3-2 lead into Game 6 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Lee could very well start. There would be little point in saving him for a Game 7 that might not happen.

If the Rangers were leading 3-2, however, Texas could go with Game 2 starter Colby Lewis on turn and save Lee for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday, when he'd be pitching on four days' rest.

Thames stays DH

Though Lance Berkman had pretty good career numbers against Lee, albeit in a small sample size, Joe Girardi didn't consider making him the DH instead of Marcus Thames for Game 3.

"Marcus has been our DH against lefties this whole time and has done a good job," Girardi said before the game. "I don't see any reason why we would change."

Berkman was 3-for-8 with two doubles against Lee. Thames was the embodiment of feast or famine against Lee at 7-for-36 with three homers, two doubles and 15 strikeouts.

"The guy's got good stuff," Girardi said of Lee. "When he's made some mistakes, Marcus has gotten him. We've talked about him as a guy, when he makes mistakes, you've got to get him. Well, Marcus is that type of guy."

Not in Game 3, he wasn't. He struck out three times.

Joe chats with Hal

Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, who did not attend either game in Arlington, Texas, arrived at the ballpark about six hours before the game and later spoke with Girardi.

Girardi didn't go into the specifics of what was discussed but said it was a lengthy talk.

"It was a good conversation,'' he said. "We just talked about the state of our club, which we always do."

Unexpected heroics

Girardi used the Giants' Cody Ross, who already has three home runs in the NLCS, as one reason he thinks A.J. Burnett might produce in Game 4 Tuesday night, even though just about everyone outside the team assumes he won't.

"How many times have you seen the unexpected guy do it in the playoffs?" he said. "They're talking about how he [Ross] wouldn't even be starting if Jose Guillen was healthy."

Cautious approach

Josh Hamilton, the favorite to win the AL MVP, entered Game 3 1-for-5 in the series, having been walked five times, twice intentionally. His one hit, of course, was a three-run homer off an 0-and-2 pitch from CC Sabathia in the first inning of Game 1. Said Girardi: "You have to pitch careful to Josh." That would have been good advice for Andy Pettitte, who allowed a two- run homer to Hamilton in the first inning.

Extra bases

Visiting teams are 9-2 in the American League's postseason this year . . . In the last two ALCS games, the Yankees are 9-for-62 (.145) with a double and a homer and the Rangers are 23-for-71 (.324) with seven doubles, a triple and two homers . . . Yankee Stadium became the third stadium in history and the first in AL history to host an LCS game in each of its first two seasons. Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh (1970 and 1971) and Atlanta's Turner Field (1997 and 1998) are the other two.

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