C.J. Wilson was up in the bullpen during the seventh inning, but Ron Washington is putting Cliff Lee back out there in the bottom of the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead.
Lee has allowed just one run on six hits over seven innings so far tonight, striking out nine and walking none. He has thrown 74 out of 100 pitches for strikes.
The left-hander has established an ALDS record by notching 19 strikeouts over his two starts during the series. The previous record was 16 by Randy Johnson (1995, 1997) and Mike Mussina (1997).
The strikeouts are just dandy, but Lee hasn’t done the Rays any favors during this series. He hasn’t walked a batter in his 14 innings of work.
Lee is slated to face Jason Bartlett, Ben Zobrist and Carl Crawford in the bottom of the eighth. Bartlett is 3-for-3 with a double on the night. Darren Oliver and Darren O’Day are up in the bullpen should he run into any trouble.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.