Live Blog: Rangers-Yankees ALCS Game 3


UPDATE: Feliz shuts down the Yankees 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, securing an 8-0 victory. Hey, Clay Rapada could have done that.

The Rangers now hold a 2-1 lead in the series. Joe Girardi has indicated otherwise, but I would be very surprised to see A.J. Burnett starting for the Bombers tomorrow.

Stay tuned for a post-game wrap-up from yours truly. As always, thanks for reading!

11:18 PM: The Rangers added another run on a wild pitch by Sergio Mitre and lead 8-0 going into the bottom of the ninth. If the huge lead didn’t make it obvious already, the handshakes and high-fives on the bench do. Cliff Lee’s night is officially over. Maybe he really is “The Scariest Thing Ever.” Very surprised to see Neftali Feliz coming on to pitch, but this is Ron Washington we’re talking about here.

11:08 PM: And David Robertson is done. Elvis Andrus just doubled over the outstretched glove of Nick Swisher, scoring Bengie Molina from second base. The Rangers have plated five runs so far in the top of the ninth and lead 7-0. Yankee Stadium now looks like Citi Field in September.

11:06 PM: Mitch Moreland just added two more with a double just inside the first base line. The Yankee Stadium faithful — or at least the ones in the expensive seats — are headed to the exits. I think Cliff Lee can probably keep his jacket on.

11:05 PM: Bengie Molina tacks on another one with an RBI single off Robertson. It’s 4-0 and the bases are still loaded.

11:01 PM: Nelson Cruz just singled in Josh Hamilton from third, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead. The ball was hit awful hard, but the speedy Julio Borbon managed to go first to third.

10:53 PM: Josh Hamilton just snuck one into the left center field gap and is now standing on second base with a leadoff double. Potentially valuable insurance. Boone Logan out, David Robertson in.

10:49 PM: Wow. Cliff Lee now has 13 strikeouts — tying his career-high — through eight shutout innings. Perhaps of more importance, he has thrown 122 pitches. As Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse points out, his career-high for pitches in a game — including postseason and regular season — is 124. The ninth inning is going to be a very tough call for Ron Washington.

10:44 PM: Cliff Lee just struck out Jorge Posada looking to begin the bottom of the eighth. He now has 12 strikeouts on the night — a new personal postseason best.

10:39 PM: Kerry Wood retired the Rangers in order in the top of the eighth on a couple pop-ups and a groundball. Cliff Lee is slated to face Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner in the bottom of the eighth. Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tells us that “The Darrens” are up in the bullpen for the Rangers.

10:34 PM: Kerry Wood is in for the Yankees in the top of the eighth. Andy Pettitte is done for the night after giving up two runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked none. For those just tuning in, the difference in this game was a two-run shot by Josh Hamilton in the top of the first.

10:31 PM: Cliff Lee just struck out Marcus Thames — again — to end the bottom of the seventh. Thames came into tonight’s game with 15 strikeouts in 36 career at-bats against Cliff Lee. Tonight, he’s 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. That’s a sample size we can probably rely on.

10:19 PM: Alex Rodriguez just made a diving stop of a ground ball hit by Bengie Molina to end the top of the seventh inning. Any other human would have beat it out, but this is Bengie Molina we’re talking about here. Credit where it’s due: It took a great pick by Mark Teixeira to make it happen.

10:12 PM: Cliff Lee got Mark Teixeira to ground out to end the bottom of the sixth inning, stranding Brett Gardner at third base. Elvis Andrus actually bobbled the ball on the transfer, but still had enough time to get him.

Lee now has 10 strikeouts through six innings tonight. He has reached double digits in strikeouts in three straight starts so far this postseason. If that sounds pretty special, you’re right. No other pitcher has done something like that before.

10:04 PM: The Yankees finally have a runner in scoring position, as Gardner swipes second base. The ball got away from Elvis Andrus, but Gardner was unable to advance.

10:00 PM: Brett Gardner just led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to center field. He dove into first base, just out of habit. Kidding.

9:58 PM: Pettitte just struck out Vlad Guerrero looking to end the top of the sixth. He’s now at 100 pitches for the night. Yes, pitching counts are largely irrelevant in the postseason — yet we still obsess over them —  but it’s worth noting that these are the most pitches the veteran left-hander has thrown in a game since July 8.

9:54 PM: Josh Hamilton just fell short of his second two-run homer of the game. I’m not sure whether to be impressed by Hamilton’s power, hitting it off the end of his bat, or disturbed by how much of a joke right field in Yankee Stadium is.

9:50 PM: Michael Young singles again. He has three of the Rangers’ four hits tonight.

9:45 PM: Curtis Granderson strikes out swinging, stranding Jorge Posada at first base. Cliff Lee has nine strikeouts over the first five innings. I’m enjoying the brisk nature of this game, but fear it may be too good to be true.

9:42 PM: The Yankees finally have their first hit of the evening here in the bottom of the fifth. Jorge Posada just poked a two-out single into shallow right field.

9:34 PM: Pettitte has retired seven straight since Michael Young’s two-out single in the third.

9:31 PM: Someone just ran onto the field at Yankee Stadium, apparently. No word on a taser sighting.

9:28 PM: Nelson Cruz made it more of an adventure than it needed to be, but Alex Rodriguez just flew out for the final out in the fourth. The Yankees are hittless through four and the Rangers are still up 2-0.

9:24 PM: Woah. Cliff Lee is perfect no longer. He just issued a two-out walk to Mark Teixeira. Amazingly, this is the first time Lee has issued a walk this postseason.

9:23 PM: Quite an at-bat by Nick Swisher there. He ended up being Cliff Lee’s seventh strikeout, but made him throw 11 pitches in the process. He also may have used an expletive on the way back to the dugout. Understandable.

9:14 PM: The Rangers are done quickly in the fourth, as Pettitte delivers a 1-2-3 inning. He has retired 11 out of 12 since Josh Hamilton’s two-run blast in the first.

9:12 PM: On second thought, maybe Gardner was out. It had something to do with the fact that he tried to grab the outside part of the bag, but his helmet also covered his eyes when he went into the dive. He should try running next time, methinks. Brett Gardner is pretty fast on his feet, I hear.

9:07: Brett Gardner was just called out on a head-first dive at first base. If you remember, he did the same thing in the eighth inning on Friday and was called safe. The thing is, he sure looked safe here. Thanks Angel Hernandez! But hey, he prolly would have actually been safe had he, you know, actually ran. Prolly.

Anyway, Cliff Lee is perfect through three.

8:58 PM: Pettitte was able to retire Josh Hamilton on a harmless ground ball to second base to end the inning. He has thrown 61 pitches over the first three frames. As Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse points out, all three Yankees starters in this series have needed at least 60 pitches to record the first nine outs.

8:56 PM: Jeter just did his trademark field-in-the-hole jumpy-throw thing. No dice. Michael Young has a two-out hit. Each of the first three batters in the third have run a full count on Pettitte.

8:45 PM: Another 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee, who has three strikeouts already. If you listened closely enough, you could hear him thanking his hat as he ran off the field.

8:38 PM: Interesting seeing Jered Weaver on that list of fewest baserunners per nine innings, right between Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez. Don’t think he should win it, but he’s not getting nearly enough love for AL Cy Young. Ah well, that’s a conversation for another day.

8:34 PM: Jeff Francoeur’s ownership of Andy Pettitte is on hold. He just grounded out for the second out in the top of the second.

8:28 PM: The Yankees go down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first inning. Lee needed just 15 pitches.

8:24 PM: Derek Jeter just flew out to right field to lead off the bottom of the first. On the bright side, he managed to run the count full. That’s kinda like drawing a walk against Cliff Lee.

8:19 PM: Pettitte just escaped the first without any further damage. He threw 25 pitches in the inning. Your move, Cliff.

8:16 PM: The Rangers jump out in front first. Josh Hamilton, who walked four times on Saturday, just launched a two-run blast to right field to give the Rangers an early 2-0 lead. This is his second hit of the series. Both are home runs.

8:11 PM: The Yankees finally get Elvis Andrus. Andy Pettitte just threw him out on a tapper. Andrus got on base to lead off each of the last two games and scored on both occasions. The last three games if you count Game 5 of the ALDS.

8:00 PM: Tino Martinez just threw out the first pitch. He did an awesome job as a last-minute substitute for Matt Nokes.

7:53 PM: Craig is handing me the baton to do some live blogging for tonight’s Game 3 of the ALCS between the Rangers and Yankees. No worries, I don’t intend to run with it. I’m just going to sit on my couch and watch baseball for a couple few hours. And that’s pretty cool.

As always, feel free to add to the conversation in our comments section.

Game 3 starters:

Cliff Lee – Some might know him better as “The Scariest Thing Ever.” The left-hander posted a 3.09 ERA in three starts against the Bombers this season and won both of his starts against them in the World Series last season, including a 10-strikeout complete-game victory in Game 1.

Andy Pettitte – The winningest pitcher in postseason history added to his own record by tossing seven innings of one-run ball in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Twins on October 7. While Pettitte has 19 postseason wins, he has also started more postseason games than anybody. And it’s not even remotely close. The veteran left-hander won his only start against the Rangers this season, allowing two runs over eight innings back on April 18.

Looking for lineups? Here’s Ron Washington’s lineup card and here’s Joe Girardi’s.

Jacob deGrom outduels Clayton Kershaw, Mets take 1-0 NLDS lead

Jacob de Grom
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Jacob deGrom put together one of the best post-season starts in Mets history, outdueling three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to pitch his team into a 1-0 NLDS lead. The right-hander fanned 13 over seven shutout innings, holding the Dodgers to five hits and a walk as the Mets won 3-1.

deGrom’s game score of 79 is the fifth-best by a Mets starter in the playoffs, behind Jon Matlack, Mike Hampton, Bobby Jones, and Tom Seaver, according to Baseball Reference. As Katie Sharp notes on Twitter, deGrom is one of three pitchers to hold the opposition scoreless on 13 or more strikeouts and one or fewer walks. The other two are Tim Lincecum and Mike Scott.

In the eighth inning, reliever Tyler Clippard allowed a one-out double to Howie Kendrick followed by an RBI single to Adrian Gonzalez as the Dodgers finally got on the board. Closer Jeurys Familia entered and recorded the final out of the eighth inning by inducing a weak line out from Justin Turner. In the ninth, Familia worked a 1-2-3 frame to wrap up the game.

Kershaw remains winless in the post-season since Game 1 of the 2013 NLDS, a span of seven starts. He gave up a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning, then walked the bases loaded in the seventh inning before departing with two outs. Reliever Pedro Baez entered and allowed two of his inherited runners to score when David Wright lined a single to center field. On the evening, Kershaw was on the hook for three runs on four hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts. Though he lost his command a bit towards the end of his start, the lefty pitched quite well and will be on the receiving end of some unnecessary criticism as a result of taking another post-season loss.

deGrom and Kershaw both struck out 11 batters, the first time that has happened in a major league post-season game.

Michael Cuddyer didn’t look too good out in left field for the Mets.

Game 2 of the NLDS will continue on Saturday at 9:00 PM EDT. Noah Syndergaard will start for the Mets opposite Zack Greinke of the Dodgers.

Clayton Kershaw, Jacob deGrom create MLB first with 11 strikeouts each in the playoffs

Jacob deGrom
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

For the first time in major league history, both pitchers in a playoff game have struck out at least 11 batters, per MLB.com’s Paul Casella. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched just a hair better than Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw overall. deGrom has blanked the Dodgers over six frames on five hits and a walk. Kershaw made one mistake, resulting in a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. He’s allowed four hits and four walks total in 6 2/3 innings.

The last time opposing starters each struck out 10 in a post-season game was back in 1944 in Game 5 of the World Series when Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 12 and Denny Galehouse of the St. Louis Browns struck out 10.

Michael Cuddyer not shining in left field early in NLDS Game 1

Michael Cuddyer
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.

Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.

With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.

Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.