WHAT WE SAW: One of the classic postseason pitching performances ever, one that ranks with Sandy Koufax’s 15-strikeout win against the Yankees at the Stadium in 1963. Cliff Lee not only justified the hype about him heading into a classic matchup against Andy Pettitte, he outdid it. It is not easy for a dominant performer to stay dominant time after time in the postseason, as Lee has done over the past two years (7-0).
In eight innings, he struck out 13 batters and gave up only two meager hits. His outfielders had to make only two putouts during his time in the game.
While the Yankees were trying to hang on and wear him down, the fact is, he was so strong for so long that he wore them down. The Yankees collapsed in the top of the ninth, allowing six runs.
WHAT WE SEE NOW: The Yankees have a major issue. They are down 2-1 and are putting themselves in the unsteady hand of A.J. Burnett. Joe Girardi’s decision to start Phil Hughes in Game 2 doubly backfired—Hughes was terrible and Andy Pettitte’s strong start was wasted against Lee.
Waiting to hear what Girardi has to say about CC Sabathia or Burnett in Game 4.
HERO: Please. Next question
GOAT: Heart of the Yankees order. Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Marcus Thames were a combined 0-for-11 with five strikeouts against Lee. Also, Derek Jeter was 0-for-4 overall with three strikeouts (one against Neftali Feliz)
UNSUNG PLAY: Lee raced off the mound for the putout on Brett Gardner in the third, preventing the start of a rally like the one Gardner began with an infield single on Friday night—the only real bright spot of this series for the Yankees.
THEY SAID IT: “I would have to say when you’re in the clubhouse, you’re thinking about that. But there’s a lot of baseball to be played.” –Andy Pettitte on the specter of this possibly having been his final game as a Yankee.