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Lee's great, but are we forgetting about Pettitte?

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I am not sure if you heard, but when Cliff Lee looks at himself in the mirror, there is no reflection. Why? Because there can only be one Cliff Lee.

The legend of Cliff Lee started to grow last postseason, but after his first two starts in these playoffs it's off the charts. He has become a modern-day Bob Gibson, supplanting Boston's Josh Beckett as the best big-game pitcher in baseball today.

And why not?

With his two wins over the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS Lee is now 6-0 in his first seven postseason starts, with his teams winning all seven of those contests.

"Regardless of what other people expect of me, I expect as much out of myself or more than anybody is going to expect out of me," Lee said. "So I don't look at it any different than I would any other game. I expect to be successful and that's the game plan [Monday] and every time I take the mound."

Lee's 1.44 ERA in the postseason is the fifth-lowest in major league history for a pitcher with at least five starts and three of the four pitchers ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame.


Andy Pettitte holds major league records for wins, starts and innings in the postseason.
Even I am starting to believe that Lee can light a fire by rubbing two ice cubes together.

Lee appears to be unhittable at the moment, but are we underestimating the guy he will be facing on Monday at Yankee Stadium when the American League Championship Series shifts to the Bronx for Game 3.

Andy Pettitte is no slouch, especially when it comes to the postseason, where he has only won more games than any pitcher in baseball history. At 19-9 with a 3.87 ERA in the playoffs, he holds major league records for wins, starts (41) and innings (256) in the postseason. He hasn't lost a postseason game since the 2005 National League Championship Series as a member of the Houston Astros.

"There's been talk about Cliff Lee before he even started this series and people were talking about Game 3," Girardi said. "But let's not forget that we have a pretty good guy on the mound, too, that's won a lot of postseason games and has won a lot of clinchers in his career. I can go back to catching him in 1998 when he won the [World Series] clincher against San Diego, and he's been doing it a long time.

"The guy that's getting lost in this is Andy Pettitte, and he's pretty good."

But then again Pettitte can't do a wheelie on a unicycle like, according to Twitter, Lee can.

As is turns out not having Lee pitch Game 1 for the Rangers didn't turn out to be a big deal. I guess he could have tossed a complete game, but I can't imagine him being able to pitch any better than the way C.J. Wilson threw on Friday.

Now the Rangers are set up fine. Lee can give them the advantage Monday with a win and still be on full rest if this series goes seven games.

But first things first and I wouldn't sleep on Pettitte.

OSWALT EASES PHILADELPHIA'S MINDS

Philadelphia fans won't admit it, but when Cody Ross hit that solo home run in the fifth inning to even the score of Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday, there was a lot of uneasy feelings in the City of Brotherly Love.

However, Roy Oswalt -- the O of H2O -- eased everyone's minds, as that would be his only hiccup in what was an incredible performance that saw him surrender one run and three hits in eight innings of a 6-1 Philadelphia win.

"I thought Oswalt was very aggressive with his fastball ... Games like tonight [are] exactly what we got him for," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

As good as Oswalt was, though, the best thing that may have come from the Phillies' Game 2 win was the terrific night at the plate from shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who had two hits and drove in four runs, including a bases-clearing double in the seventh.

Rollins, who missed time at the end of the regular season with a hamstring injury, had managed just one hit in his previous 17 at-bats before coming up big on Sunday.

"Hopefully, I can take what I did today and just keep it going," Rollins said. "I was glad I was the person up there at the moment and able to come through."

The Giants, though did what they had to do. They are leaving Philadelphia with split and now the series shifts to San Francisco and the Giants will have Matt Cain on the hill opposite Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels.

Cain did not get a decision in his Game 2 start in the NLDS against the Braves, but he pitched well, allowing just an unearned run in 6 2/3 innings of a gave eventually lost by the bullpen.

However, Cain, who was 13-11 with a 3.14 ERA this season, has never beaten the Phillies, posting an 0-3 mark with a 6.23 ERA in five starts.

Hamels, meanwhile, was absolutely terrific for the Phils in the Division Series, as he struck out nine in a five-hit shutout in Game 3 against the Reds to finish off that series.

He is 4-2 lifetime against the Giants, but has pitched to a 6.12 ERA in his four starts at AT&T Park.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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