Once Cliff Lee left the friendly confines of Safeco Field, twice as many fly balls left the yard–as expected in Arlington–and his BABIP went up 16 points. So despite a seemingly high ERA spike, I wouldn’t say that he was pitching much worse. His 8.0 K/BB in a Ranger uniform, though not as impressive as his ridiculous 14.9 as a Mariner, still led second-place Jered Weaver (4.3 K/BB) by a healthy margin.
Then came the playoffs. Lee pitched 16 innings in his two starts against the Rays. The Rangers won both games, and Lee struck out 21 while walking none. Zero walks. A reader of USSMariner couldn’t find a single pitcher before 1995 with such a good K/BB ratio in a playoff series. I couldn’t find one since 1995. In 2002 Kevin Millwood struck out 14 and walked none in the division series, and then coincidentally David Price had 14 K/0 BB against the Rangers this season. Tom Glavine went 9/0 in the NLCS in 1996, Curt Schilling 8/0 in 2007, and then Roger Clemens went 9/0 in the 2000 World Series.
No pitcher has ever allowed zero walks in more than 26 innings in a single postseason. Maybe Lee can do it…
In any case, I’d love to see him fool the Yankees and help the Rangers represent the AL in the World Series. It was fun watching him pitch in Seattle, and I’m happy he got to win some this year.