21 Oct 2010
Those three runs in the second inning were an alarm bell to the crowd yesterday. Yankee Stadium was a pretty quiet place and even after the Yankees started scoring there was an uneasiness in the crowd. A couple of fans near me talked about how the Yankees could win Game 5 and Game 6, but they would still lose the series because of Cliff Lee waiting in Game 7.
It’s a popular topic on the internet today, but it is a ridiculous one. It’s ridiculous because it doesn’t matter until the Yankees win Game 6. Cliff Lee would be something to worry about if the Yankees beat the Rangers Friday. Until then, there isn’t much point in even discussing it. I will make one comment though. If the Yankees were to beat Texas tomorrow night they would be in about as good a place mentally as possible to face Lee. That could matter a little, it could matter a lot, we won’t know until we get there.
And getting there is going to be tough. Obviously, it starts with Phil Hughes pitching a lot better than he did on Saturday. Assuming that happens, the Yankees will then have to hit Colby Lewis. Lewis wasn’t great last Saturday and I wonder how he would have done if the Rangers didn’t give him a 5-0 lead? In his three career starts before the ALCS against the Yankees he was 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA.
It really comes down to Hughes. Can he be the pitcher we saw in the first half? If so, the Yankees have an excellent chance of forcing a Game 7 and having to deal with the problem of Cliff Lee.